Saskatchewan farmers snarl holiday traffic

Grain farmers in 20 communities across Saskatchewan reduced traffic on roads and highways to a virtual crawl Monday. Farmers claim grain prices are extremely low, and are calling on the federal government for more money.

The farmers complain they are going bankrupt because other countries are subsidizing their farmers to stay in business.

Saskatchewan's farm income is expected to be $90 million in the red this year. There was a similar demonstration two weeks ago, when farmers blocked the Trans-Canada Highway at the border with Manitoba.

RCMP tried to keep traffic moving as much as possible. Some tourists were unhappy to be caught in a political protest at the end of a holiday weekend.

Carol Cull, her husband and their baby were caught in a convoy of farm vehicles near North Battleford. The British Columbia family waited in their minivan in a seemingly endless line of holiday travellers.

"I think the farmers need support but I don't think that they should be tying up traffic," Cull told CBC News. "We pay our taxes just like everyone else and if they want to protest, go to Ottawa. Don't tie up holiday traffic. It's unfair when you're travelling with children, they get fussy, and who has all this time? We have a right to go to work, too."

Morris Prescesky led the protest at North Battleford. He said farmers wanted to make sure their concerns were heard across the province. He believes the public should pay attention to the problem, because farmers are not the only ones affected by low grain prices.

"We are doing this to support our communities," Prescesky said. "When the farmers don't have the money to pay their bills, communities are suffering."