Atlantic Canadians face propane shortages due to anti-pipeline protests
HALIFAX -- As the nation's rail network remains shut down due to anti-pipeline protests, businesses and homes across the Maritime Region are only days away from running out of propane.
The heating source is still being delivered to Atlantic Canada, but not by rail, making it more costly.
"So, the situation is pretty dire," said Canadian Propane Association President and CEO, Nathalie St-Pierre. "There is absolutely nothing coming in except for small little loads here and there by truck. The rest, especially in the winter, the rail is the transportation of choice, so it's getting close to the end of the supply."
The Canadian Propane Association says it has been trying to secure deliveries from the United States, adding it hasn't been an easy endeavour. They added any propane being delivered to the region is being rationed for those who need it the most for heat.
"Homes, senior homes, and farms with livestock that absolutely need it. So, those are the priorities right now, for sure," said St. Pierre.
Grocery store stocks are also a concern for Maritimers as inventory is diminishing on items they would normally be well stocked on this time of year.
"Running low on products like ketchup, cereal, jello, in the center of the store is highly unusual this time of year, considering the kind of weather we've had over the last four or five days," said Dalhousie University researcher, Sylvain Charlebois.
With no current concerns of a widespread food shortage, there are worries food may cost more if it all has to be imported by truck.
"If you actually have to put cargo on wheels, you're increasing your costs from anywhere between 30 to 50 per cent. So, we do live in a Port City, so everything that comes from Europe is fine, but everything from the U.S. or Western Canada, well, you need rails," said Charlebois.
VIA Rail announced on Tuesday its plans to reinstate partial service between Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa beginning Thursday.
Officials note all other VIA Rail services will remain cancelled until further notice, with the exception of Sudbury-White River (CP Rail) and Churchill-The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway).