Premier Danielle Smith sent the below letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the steep economic impacts of potential rail and port strikes:

“I am writing to raise concerns about the decision by workers at Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Kansas City Railway who announced their vote results to authorize strikes at both companies. Unless parties can reach an agreement, a work stoppage affecting one or both railways can occur as early as May 22, 2024. Similarly, Alberta is watching, with trepidation, the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Ship and Dock Foremen Local 514 in their 21-day cooling off period.

“A work stoppage would effectively shut down Canadian logistics networks, disrupting the movement of essential goods throughout North America. While we respect the collective bargaining process, we are very concerned about the effects of a work stoppage on Albertans and Canadians as they deal with serious inflationary pressures. The Government of Canada must do everything in its power to support the parties in reaching negotiated settlements. In the event of a work stoppage, your government must be prepared to use all the tools at its disposal to terminate it rapidly, including, if necessary, back-to-work legislation.

“Our freight railways and ports are the veins of Canada’s economy. In 2023, Alberta exported $20.1 billion in goods by rail including minerals, agriculture and forestry products. The transportation and warehousing sector also contributed more than five per cent of Alberta’s GDP and employed almost 5.5 per cent of Albertans in 2022. Any work stoppage affecting our railways and ports would be crippling for our national economy and North American supply chains. Shutting down both railways concurrently would bring our economy to a halt, put Canadians from coast to coast at unacceptable risk, and cause even more damage to Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner. This potential work stoppage comes on the heels of two other damaging strikes that took place at B.C. ports and the St. Lawrence Seaway last year.

“Canada’s supply chains have been negatively affected in recent years by various events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather, blockades and multiple labour disruptions. These significant, frequent and recurring disruptions to the movement of goods and freight have contributed to record high inflation and an affordability crisis that has negatively impacted our nation’s quality of life. Our country’s reputation as a dependable trading partner is, once again, on the line. While some of these disruptions are beyond anyone’s control, the federal government has the power to learn from previous instances and minimize the harm caused by frequent labour disruptions.

“In the interest of all Canadians, and to avoid disastrous economic impacts, I urge you to do everything in your power to prevent work stoppages and to ensure Canada’s critical economic corridors continue to deliver the goods that Canadians rely on and to facilitate the export of Canadian products.”