March 21, 2017
The Crow Rate was a deal made between the federal government and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to benefit both the railway and the farmers in the 1800s. The CPR wanted to have a monopoly to ship minerals from the Kootenay Mountains in eastern BC. At the same time, Prairie farmers were complaining about the high costs of shipping their grain on the CPR.
The federal government struck a win-win deal. The farmers would get lower grain shipping rates in perpetuity in exchange for the CPR having control of shipping minerals from BC. It was called the Crow Rate.
Now the Crow Rate is defunct but, in the 1980s, when I was working on the Gravelbourg Gazette, it was still a hot topic for farmers.
Here is an article:
February 9, 1983
Sahl says Crow proposals worse
by Tanya Lester
Transportation Minister Jean-Luc Pepin’s recent proposed changes to the Crow Rate are “worse in some areas” than the Gilson Proposal which the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool opposed for the most part according to Avery Sahl, the Pool’s second vice-president.
“We’ve rejected the whole thing (Mr. Pepin’s proposal) as being unrealistic and unreasonable to grain producers, Mr. Sahl said.
Prior to Mr. Pepin’s announcement, the Pool’s policy had stated a preference to Senator Hazen Argue’s alternate proposal on transportation rates while mostly condemning the Gilson Report.
Mr. Pepin said that , “It should be no surprise t the fedhat we’re going essentially the Gilson way.” Before this announcement was made, many Pool members had hoped its delay meant the federal cabinet was seriously thinking of opting for the Argue proposal.
Mr. Sahl said than the Pepin proposal is worse Gilson proposal in at least two areas. The Gilson Report stated the government would pick up the difference if inflation pushed transportation rates over a 4.5 per cent increase. Mr. Pepin is proposing an increase of 6 percent for the farmers before the government would subsidize the rates.
Also, the Pepin rate proposal does not allow freight rate adjustments in relation to fluctuating grain prices. “In the eyes of the farmers, this is absolutely essential,” Mr. Sahl said.
In addition, Sahl believes the Pepin proposal, if implemented, would be “a threat to branch lines and rural communities.” For this reason, he feels mayors, town councils, and others interested in maintaining these smaller communities will be joining farm organizations and university professors in lobbying against Mr.es. Pepin’s proposal for changes in the rates.
Rural communities would be “losing large amounts of rural purchasing power” if railway branch lines to their towns are discontinued as the result of Mr. Pepin’s transporation rate wishes, Mr. Sahl said.
Mr. Sahl indicated Mr. Pepin’s proposal would have to be drafted and be passed through three readings in the House of Commons before it would become law.
The Pool second vice-presidents said the grain company’s delegates will be called together in the near future to discuss the Pool’s plan of action for protesting the Pepin proposal.
Mr.Sahl said the Pool had not yet assessed all the implications of Pepin’s announcement but he believes there is still time to pressure the government into rejecting the proposal.
“As far as I’m concerned the game isn’t over until the last ball is thrown,” he said.
Mr. Sahl is also District 7 representative to the Advisory Committee of the Canadian Wheat Board.
Tanya is a professional psychic, specializing in tea leaf reading and tarot, as well as a reiki master and a fulltime house sitter. For more information go to her website at teareading.wordpress.com or to her pages at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.