Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
I want to thank each one of you for joining us today. I do appreciate your attendance.
As you pointed out, Mr. Nielsen, we know that the timing of these hearings doesn't dovetail very well with our agricultural community, but as it has been pointed out, this is important work that needs to be done. Your testimony here today is crucial in providing the committee with the information needed to ensure that the right balance is struck in addressing the underlying issues that exist in our transportation system. But we know that this is not the first time that your input has been solicited to aid parliamentarians in our deliberations on how to structure legislation that ensures market access and an efficient means of transportation for our shippers and producers.
Every witness so far has testified that there needs to be some changes to this legislation, and all have identified issues with the provisions around long-haul interswitching. Because I have such a limited amount of time to ask each of you questions, I have two questions that I would like each of you to answer.
Does Bill C-49 enhance competition in rail service, and, on balance, do you prefer the extended interswitching at 160 kilometres, as previously outlined in the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, or do you prefer the LHI provisions in this bill? I'll have each one of you answer those questions.