By LISA SCHMIDT
OTTAWA (CP) - Hundreds of tractors, with horns blaring, rolled past Parliament Hill on Wednesday, snarling downtown traffic as farmers protested a lack of financial support from the federal government.
A five-kilometre convoy of tractors, farm trucks, and even a couple of farmers on bicycles, snaked through city streets on their way to a huge rally. "What they are offering us is not enough," said Marc Patnaud, an eastern Ontario farmer who set up signs in front of the Peace Tower. "We've installed a cross here of the Unknown Farmer. It's a little like the Unknown Soldier that's buried there across."
"If they don't help us out, it will be like the death of agriculture."
Farmers, hurt by low commodity prices and other troubles, say a new $500-million federal aid package announced this month isn't nearly enough.
Convoys of farmers headed along major highways, including Canada's busiest Highway 401, for afternoon rallies in Ottawa, Guelph, Ont., and Pickering, east of Toronto.
Other rallies were scheduled across the country, including Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon.
Burnel Kipfer, president of the Perth County Federation of Agriculture, said up to 600 farmers were expected to participate in the Guelph event.
Essex cash-crop farmer David Santo said the latest aid package simply isn't enough. Farmers, who said Prime Minister Jean Chretien is in the dark when it comes to the farm crisis, are urging the federal government to double the size of its aid package.
A group of Ontario farmers set up a partial blockade on a highway along the Lake Huron shore. The farmers, who didn't want to travel to other farmers' Day of Action protests, said they instead set up an information picket.
Fred Phillips, a farmer from Lucknow northwest of London, Ont., said cars were slowly allowed through the roadblock.
He said tractors and other farm vehicles partially blocked the intersection of Highways 21 and 86.
Ontario Provincial Police said there were no major problems.http://ca.news.yahoo.com/010314/6/3gff.html