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Rail blockades cause concern for Alberta grain farmer who worries about delivery delays

Rail blockades cause concern for Alberta grain farmer
WATCH ABOVE: Rail blockades have sprung up in various parts of the country this month in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the construction of a pipeline in northern B.C. Some farmers are concerned the blockades will delay critical grain deliveries. Quinn Campbell reports.

Alberta grain farmer Kevin Auch is keeping a close eye on how grain is moving at major ports in Canada as delays from rail blockades backlog grain shipments across Canada.

“We are becoming an unreliable supplier, which means bad things for our bottom lines as well,” Auch said on Thursday.

Rail blockades have sprung up in various parts of the country this month in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C.

READ MORE: Trudeau to speak with premiers on blockades as Wet’suwet’en solidarity protests continue

Foothills MP John Barlow said when ships from other countries come into port, they are having to be turned around.

“There is nowhere for them to anchor and they are going to be going to other suppliers like Peru, Australia [and] the United States,” he said on Wednesday.

“We have lost some very important trading partners and our reputation on the global market is irreparably tarnished.”

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Barlow has been voicing the concerns of Canadian farmers in the House of Commons and said the delays are gouging the economy and hurting producers.

“Every week that these blockades remain, crippling Canada’s rail system, is costing Canadian grain farmers — just grain farmers — about $50 million every week.”

READ MORE: 2019 harvest is underway in Alberta

The concern is building for grain growers like Auch, who fear losing trade deals could mean a drop in grain prices.

“When we’re making less, that has an impact all through the whole economy,” he said.

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“So it’s not just us that it hurts, it hurts our little communities as well, and ultimately, the cities and everyone.”

As the blockades remain in place, the uncertainty isn’t going away anytime soon.

“This has a profound impact on every industry in agriculture, and it’s getting worse with every passing day,” Barlow said.