Anyone that has lived or traveled to Alberta realizes that the residents of this province are as resilient and unique as any citizen in Canada. The people of Alberta have epitomized the freedom and entrepreneurial spirit that has attracted so many that make this place their home. Something else we’ve learned about ourselves is how when the chips are down, we always respond to those in need.
Examples of how Albertans respond has been exemplified over the last few years with the 2013 flood in High River and the fire this past spring in Fort McMurray. The overwhelming response from around the province when calamity strikes our own is something each and every one of us should be proud of.
Ranchers in the east central Alberta community of Jenner are experiencing a crisis every bit as serious as those in High River and Fort McMurray. The crisis that threatens their very way of life stems from a single positive test for bovine tuberculosis in the U.S., which was traced back to a local ranch. The situation has become serious with families facing quarantines and an escalating number of ranchers are facing full destruct orders for their entire herds.
Like true Albertans, in spite of all the serious issues these folks are going through, these people have put their neighbours’ and friends’ welfare right along side their own. A large number of Alberta ranches remain under quarantines and the number continues to rise as testing is being done.
With no long-term and only partial measures being proposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to compensate for the estimated 10,000 head of cattle currently under order to be destroyed, producers are left wondering what the future holds for them and their livelihoods.
Cattle producers in Alberta have a reputation for providing some of the highest quality beef available anywhere in the world. Not only is this important to the reputation of the province, it also plays a significant role in the economy that goes beyond our borders. Alberta’s 1.8 million head per year output is responsible for 69% of the cattle production in Canada.
With approximately 50 ranches currently under quarantine and people’s futures at stake, it is our responsibility in this Legislature to ensure that these operations remain financially viable for generations to come. The Wildrose Official Opposition will work diligently to make sure the Alberta government has a plan that ensures Canadian Food Inspection Agency follows through with the commitments they have made to producers to help them through this crisis.
If you’ve ever wondered what the compassionate enterprising spirit is that makes this province great, it’s openly the spirit of being an Albertan.