In the past several days my life has been a firestorm of mental energy. I am many things and one of them is a forth generation member of the Alberta Agricultural community. In my family we raise cattle. After a short stint with a professional career, I decided to follow my mothers lead and get a cow herd in addition to a career. I love my cows, they are amazing animals. I love watching the new born calves and seeing the dedication and maternal insticts the cows have for their young.
What I do not love is the current detrimental and unjust stance my government is taking towards agriculture. This country faces massive economic downturn, in a volitile market government rallies around it’s industry and protects jobs and employment. My government has decided to do the opposite, in a few short months the unemployment rate has sky rocketed and the industries have been repeatedly assaulted with irresponsible and inexperienced legislation which is crippling our economy.
In protest, I have written letters and made phone calls but I suspect no one is listening. I’m truly heart broken that’s the case, I didn’t vote for this party, I was willing to give them a chance to prove they were more responsible than the last. My hope for this party is now clearly misplaced.
To borrow a famous politicians sentiments As Albertans: ‘we must all hang together, or we will most certainly all hang seperately.’
For all the Angry Albertans out there, our protest is not just about the destructive Bill 6. This is about the misrepresentation, injustice and corruption we already see in this new Legislature. Policies this government are introducing misrepresents 53% of the popular vote. 53% of Albertans are being misrepresented and being high handedly forced into legislation which does not represent the people this government is supposed to serve. Miners, oilfield workers, farmers and the hard working backbone of this province have dealt with enough. Not just with this government which proposes some of the worst economic times we have ever known but with our previous governments as well. Now is the time for Albertans to stand for a government which honestly, forthrightly and transparently represents the needs of the public. If you believe this government is and will misrepresent the best interests of this province and the people it is supposed to serve, stand with the Albertans in Agriculture and stand up against the high handed, misrepresentation and corruption of the government and send a message to all future governments, Albertans will not tolerate abuse of the power granted to them by the people.
To whom it may concern:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a member of the Alberta Agricultural Community, it has been brought to my attention that Bill 6 has been passed through first reading. Upon reading the literature provided by the Alberta Government I am concerned at the extreme detrimental effect this will have on agriculture. Farms have a narrow profit margin, the smaller the farm the narrower the margin. This government based its platform on the fact it was going to try to attract young farmers into the industry. This bill has young farmers, like myself who face massive startup costs, wondering if they will have any hope of affording the all additional costs as this government seems hell bent on imposing. As a young farmer, I already work another job to help pay start up costs, I make ends meet but there is no extra.
On top of my concerns about this bill, I am concerned about the flagrant misrepresentation and misstatement of facts. Alberta is not the only province who does not have this type of legislation and every other province who does has exemptions for the family farm, and family and friend participation in those farms. I am concerned about the constant changing of the facts stated on the Alberta Government website. After the backlash of hundreds of farmers at town halls and the legislature and over 39,000 supporters in social media the Alberta government removed their information on Bill 6 and its impacts and replaced it with a less inflammatory statement. This begs the question, does this government plan on pushing the bill through and reinstating their previous inflammatory and detrimental policy once the farmers and ranchers affected have no legal voice.
I am concerned about misleading statements which say the workers in agriculture do not have WCB when in fact the program has always been an option. Contract farm workers already have WCB, as do most large scale farm business. All farms must carry farm insurance which includes liability insurance, farm vehicles must carry insurance which includes liability. As a small farm, I have opted for a private insurance plan which better meets my needs than WCB, my insurance plan covers my wages lost at my secondary job if I’m injured, my additional medical expenses, and includes life insurance in the case of my death. WCB will not do any of these things and to pay premiums on a program which will not help me as much as my current accident insurance is ludicrous.
Historically, WCB and OH&S have been top heavy, high handed and impractical programs which lack proper influence from the industries they represent. A blanket, one size fits all, solution is a poorly conceptualized solution in every industry. This type of legislation will not help farm safety. If the goal is to improve farm safety, agriculture needs well funded and well consulted safety education programs for both producers and students in rural schools.
Before this legislation is enacted it must be tabled with stakeholders properly. If the government is attempting to help farm safety, they must properly consult with farmers and ranchers. Consider the types of costs associated and if in a declining economy with a worker population where the average age in 2011 was 54 years old and climbing. Alberta is losing its farm industry due to higher start up and land costs, farmers are tired and retiring. The beef industry did not grow during unprecedented boom and yet the government wants to add additional measures and expenses to producers who are already feeling the pinch of a decade of bad prices and volatile market. Let’s consider educating on farm and not prematurely legislating an industry which needs a leg up after years of just breaking even on expenses.
Rainbow’s Edge Gelbvieh