It’s rare to have widespread agreement by farm groups on a policy initiative, but the federal government is receiving a lot of praise for its plan to deal with railway performance. The accolades are coming from across the political spectrum. It was widely expected that the Rail Service Review conducted over the past couple years was going to lead to even more years of inaction on railway service. Instead, agriculture minister Gerry Ritz and minister of state for transport Rob Merrifield have announced a number of measure to balance the business relationship between shippers and the two major railways. One of the main measures will be a bill to give shippers the right to a standardized service agreement. The way it is now, all the cards are stacked in favour of the railways. They can make demands on shippers, but they face no ramifications for poor service. To their credit, the feds recognize that something needs to be done. Service by CP Rail has been particularly dismal this year. Unfortunately, the announced measures will all take some time to implement and they could also be interrupted by a federal election. Election or not, hopefully the momentum will continue towards getting more accountable service from the railways. I’m Kevin Hursh.