Thursday, March 5, 2009

On Behalf of Ranchers

For Immediate Release
Friday, October 3, 2008


WILLIAMS LAKE— New Democrat Agriculture Critic Charlie Wyse is hoping that a UBCM resolution supporting his private member’s bill will force the Campbell Liberal government to act to protect ranchers from losing their livestock to trains.

Wyse, the MLA for Cariboo South, says that even as his bill was being lauded by community representatives at the UBCM conference, his office was receiving calls about cattle that were recently killed by trains.

“Campbell shows that he is out of touch with rural British Columbians as he continues to ignore this issue,” said Wyse. “His government created this situation when they privatized the rail line without ensuring that the interests of industries and individuals along the rail line were protected.”

B.C. Rail used to take responsibility for the construction and maintenance of fencing and rail crossings and when livestock were struck they had a practice of contacting the ranchers so they were aware of their loss and able to deal with injured animals humanely. Upon proof of loss B.C. Rail would also reimburse the cost of the animal. Wyse’s private member’s bill would legislate these practices, which are not being followed by CN.

Cheryl and Ed Monical are among the ranchers who have lost cattle, and they are fed up with having to absorb the losses caused by the railway.

“We’ve lost cattle, and so have our neighbours,” said Cheryl Monical. “We just found a couple more rotting by the tracks. It infuriates me that CN doesn’t contact ranchers when they kill our cattle, or do anything to prevent this from happening. The Campbell government needs to step in and make this stop; it wasn’t a problem before they sold the railway.”

Wyse says that the UBCM resolution should be a wake up call for the Campbell Liberals, who are the only ones ignoring the problems caused by their sale of B.C. Rail.

“My private member’s bill is sensible and it would protect ranchers from unnecessary losses,” said Wyse. “Campbell needs to stop siding with the railway, and to start listening to the ranchers who were impacted by the sale of B.C. Rail.”