By Rick Strankman, MLA
Drumheller – Stettler
What’s up? A popular phone answer phrase my son likes to use. In a recent, widely read agriculture publication, numerical prairie grain stats were quoted. Off farm deliveries were 28% higher than historical values. The formerly stagnant system would be plugged from prairie to port with approaching 6 million tonnes instead of a now reported 2.67.
Question period in the Alberta Legislature is an opportunity to ask the Premier and her Ministers questions that affect the constituents of our ridings and the province. On Wednesday, October 31st, I used that opportunity to ask the Agriculture Minister about the NDP party’s stated intention, to “formally examine the impact to Canada’s international reputation that has resulted from the changes to Canada’s grain marketing storage and handling system.”
The question I posed to the Minister was as follows:
Minister, in all your travels I have never heard you publicly say that Canada’s reputation and, by extension, Alberta’s grain growers have somehow been diminished by any recent changes in that federal policy. Have you?
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As Albertans have come to expect, the answer was nothing more than bafflegab and misdirection that avoided the question completely.
As producers successfully move on with their marketing abilities, the NDP’s want to revisit the government control of grain handling and marketing.
What’s up? Exports of American wheat products were down 15 per cent for soft wheat and 49 per cent for hard red! What’s up? Canadian, net to producer prices, Vancouver freight discounted, is equal or above American, exchange calculated prices. Fortunately, what the Chicken Little Canadian Wheat Board loyalists were crying was wrong, that being, grain cost would have monopolistic pricing powers.
It was then that I followed with the following supplemental question:
Given that that resolution goes on to recommend, and I quote, “to put into place any additional government oversight needed to ensure that Canada’s grain marketing, storage, and handling system, works efficiently to the mutual benefit of all,” Minister, to this third generation son of a rich farmer it sure sounds like your party is advocating that Alberta’s farmers and our friends across Canada will once again be forced into a 1943-based monopoly, formerly called the Canadian Wheat Board. Is that your government’s intention?
And again the question was met with a non-answer that for the most part completely avoided the actual question.
My final question on this subject was aimed at the Minister’s intention going forward;
Given that several farmers, including myself, were thrown into jail for daring to take our own property, our commodity, wheat and barley grown by us, into the U.S.A. and giving it to a 4-H club; Minister, is this how your government would like to rebuild the tattered relationships with rural Alberta farmers and ranchers going forward into 2019?
Again the actual question was not addressed.
What’s up? Why was the Agriculture Minister avoiding the question? Is this another intention the NDP has that they don’t want to reveal? If I recall prior to the 2015 provincial election there was no mention of their job-killing carbon tax; is this what Albertans can expect?
What’s up? It seems to me that only Albertans can answer that question and they will have the opportunity to do just that in a polling booth during the next provincial election!