Propane shortages said to be 'critical' because of rail blockades

chicks

The rail blockades across Canada may soon become a serious problem for Quebec farmers.

According to the UPA professional farmer's union, several farmers have received notice from propane distributors of a potential shortage within the next week.

Small and young farm animals such as nursing pigs and chicks are vulnerable to changes in temperature. The propane is essential for powering the heating equipment that insures the animals' survival.

"More than 80% of the propane coming into Quebec comes by rail car," said Patrice Breton, the vice-president of Propane GRC, a distributor in Quebec City.

Breton said they are having to pause non-essential deliveries and allocate propane to customers with the most urgent need such as farms with small animals. He said there aren't enough trucks to keep up with the demand.

The situation is already critical according to Breton. Even if the situation were resolved today, it would take another three to four weeks for service to be restored completely.

"In November, when we had the CN strike, it took about a month to get back to a normal situation," added Breton.

In a press release Wednesday, the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do everything possible to end the rail blockade peacefully, but as quickly as possible.

"No one wants to have to prioritize which animals will survive and which will be abandoned because of a lack of propane and heating essential to their survival," concluded Marcel Groleau, president of the UPA, in the release.

Prime Minister Trudeau made a press release this afternoon stating that the onus is now on Indigenous leaders to end the blockades.