Farmers paraded their tractors past Prime Minister Stephen Harper's official residence in Ottawa Monday morning, pressing their pitch for increased aid as Parliament resumes business.
The slow-moving pieces of farm machinery began passing the gates of 24 Sussex Drive before 8 a.m. EDT, delaying traffic on the narrow, winding road that is also home to embassies and diplomatic residences.
Later in the morning, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture held a news conference to demand that Harper's government allocate funds to counter subsidies offered to American and European farmers.
Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Bob Friesen told reporters that the farm sector needs $2 billion a year for at least the next three years in order to stay afloat in the face of the competition.
After a major protest on Parliament Hill three weeks ago, Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl promised a boost for farmers in the upcoming budget, but John Vanderspank says his fellow farmers remain skeptical.
"First they said there was going to be a 'significant announcement' in the budget, but now they keep [saying] that that 'significant announcement' is $2.5 billion over five years, which is $500 million a year," he said.
"We've told them right from day one that that wasn't anywhere near enough."
- FROM APRIL 5, 2006: Harper promises to deliver aid as cash-strapped farmers rally on Parliament Hill
Canadian farmers have been stepping up protests to bring attention to their financial difficulties in recent weeks.
On Sunday, about 50 tractors blockaded gasoline distribution terminals in Ottawa, letting trucks pass through only sporadically.
The new protest comes as the House of Commons resumes business after its two-week Easter break.
Farmers hope their appeal will reach sympathetic ears as Harper's government prepares to table its first budget on May 2.
A large number of Conservative members of Parliament are from rural areas dependent on income from the farm sector and associated businesses.