Rail com­pany files NAFTA com­plaint

Lethbridge Herald - - BUSINESS AGRICULTURE -

The own­ers of a bro­ken rail line in north­ern Man­i­toba that has cut off the sub­arc­tic town of Churchill served no­tice Tues­day that they plan to file a com­plaint against the fed­eral gov­ern­ment un­der the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment.

The for­mal no­tice from Den­ver-based Om­ni­trax is the lat­est vol­ley in an on­go­ing bat­tle over who is re­spon­si­ble for the rail line left in­op­er­a­ble by spring flood­ing, leav­ing Churchill’s 900 res­i­dents fac­ing higher food and fuel prices and lower tourism num­bers.

Om­ni­trax said Ot­tawa’s de­ci­sion to end the Cana­dian Wheat Board’s mo­nop­oly on western wheat and bar­ley in 2012 dras­ti­cally cut grain ship­ments along the Hud­son Bay Rail­way and through the Port of Churchill be­cause the open mar­ket al­lowed pro­duc­ers to use south­ern rail lines and ports, which are Cana­dian-owned.

Om­ni­trax’s Cana­dian cur­rent pres­i­dent, Merv Tweed, was a back­bencher in the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment that made the de­ci­sion.

“Ar­ti­cle 1102 of the NAFTA re­quires that Canada pro­vide to in­vestors or in­vest­ments of the other NAFTA Par­ties treat­ment that is ‘no less favourable’ than it pro­vides to its own,” the 22-page no­tice doc­u­ment states.

“Through the steps it has taken to un­der­cut the (the rail line) and its mar­ket po­si­tion rel­a­tive to Cana­dian-owned rail­ways, the Gov­ern­ment of Canada has de facto dis­crim­i­nated against Om­ni­trax to the ben­e­fit of its Cana­dian com­peti­tors.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.