Farmers across Alberta have endured a very trying summer. Severe drought, hail, fire, and storms have wreaked havoc on one of Canada’s most critical industries. Because of the importance of the ag industry and the adversity producers are faced with, we need to do everything we can to support a sector that feeds our country and world.
Recently, I travelled across Battle River—Crowfoot and saw firsthand some of this devastation, as well as speaking to many producers who are affected. The drought situation is severe, and precipitation levels are far below the average. According to reports from the Provincial Government, more than half of the seeded acres in Alberta are average or below average, more than double the average number of acres that are facing poor soil moisture, and nearly triple the number of pasture acres that are rated as being in poor condition. And there is more warm and dry weather to come.
Many producers have shared the frustration associated with some of the agricultural risk management products that are offered. Including how in many cases products are not responsive to the needs of modern farming and ranching operations. This is at a time when we see inflation and added costs due to supply chain concerns, have a significant impact on agriculture where costs can’t be passed along. In addition, we see the government policy that is adding to costs that are reducing Canadian producers' ability to do what they do best.
From the carbon tax to ignorance to the true challenges farmers face, to fertilizer reductions, to unscientific bans of some herbicides and pesticides, policy should be centred around fixing real-world problems—like food security—and implementing methods to make it happen. The Liberals’ green agenda does none of that. Days before Parliament rose for the summer, the Liberals put forward more “just-transition” legislation. This legislation would eliminate large segments of our economy that produce traditional energy sources. In contrast, Conservative MP Ben Lobb’s Private Members’ Bill C-234, would exempt farm operations from the carbon tax and provide much-needed relief to farmers and consumers.
One in eight jobs in Canada is directly related to agriculture, and food production is by far the largest employer in the country supporting more than 250,000 jobs. As Conservatives, we believe in rewarding hard work and success, rather than burdening farm families and agri-food businesses with punitive taxes and red tape. We want to ensure generations to come will be able to carry on Canada’s family farm model. Let us recognize the important work farmers do and ensure their voices are heard in Ottawa.
The bottom line is this: farmers and ranchers deserve our gratitude as they feed Canada and the rest of the world. The provincial Government is stepping up to help those affected by drought and disaster, I am calling on the Liberals and Liberal Minister of Agriculture to do the same.