2019 ALBERTA ELECTION

Questionnaire Results

With the call of the provincial election in Alberta, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers asked each of the registered parties five questions that we thought would be of interest to our members.

On March 22, 2019 the following questions were sent to each party. On April 3, 2019 we sent a reminder to the parties that had not replied. As of April 5, 2019, we heard back from five parties. If other parties reply, we will update our site.

1.  What is your party’s position on free and competitive markets in international trade, including the elimination of export subsidies, reduction of trade-distorting domestic support, and reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers that inhibit market access?

Alberta Independence Party (AIP)

We are for succession and joining the UN. We will be a part of the USMCAA. We settle with FN 5.32% of All Crown Land. We will take the remaining Crown Land outside of parks and “Draw” for ALL Albertans. We guarantee road, rail and pipeline For ALL products the deep port. This means alot for agriculture in the “New Alberta”.

Alberta Liberal Party (LIP)

The Alberta Liberals support free and open markets and will work to expand market access for the agriculture industry.

Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP)

Alberta’s farmers are the backbone of our province, and a major contributor to Alberta’s economy. Rachel Notley grew up in rural Alberta, and knows first hand the essential role farming families play in our economy, our culture and our identify. Alberta’s farmers are hard working and innovative. When given the opportunity to compete fairly on the international stage, they excel. Rachel Notley is committed to reducing all forms of trade barriers, increasing trade access and getting Alberta’s products to new markets. A re-elected government under the leadership of Rachel Notley is also committed to streamlining processes and reducing wait times for farmers applying for government approval related to farmland, including environmental permits and lease transfers. While these measures are not directly trade related, ensuring that farmers can efficiently interact with government will better position them to succeed in the global marketplace.

Alberta Party (AP)

The Alberta Party fully supports a free market place as long as our Ag Producers are treated on a fair and even trade platform, both domestically and foreign. If we form government, we would support, protect and engage Producers and the products they sell, while working towards securing new markets and technologies.

Communist Party - Alberta (CP - A)

Our general approach to international trade is that is should be based on mutual benefit, and be multi-lateral, i.e. that Canada should develop trade with multiple partners, and not have one-sided dependence on trade with the U.S. In particular, trade with multiple countries will allow Canada to stop having our exports held hostage by U.S. foreign policy manipulations. We do not have a specific policy about tariffs, but I would like to mention that many of the global so-called “free trade” agreements are nothing of the sort. They are instruments primarily of American capital wanting unlimited and unrestricted access to other countries while the U.S. keeps massive subsidies to its own agri-business interests – bringing ruin to family farms in countries around the world, swamping their markets with subsidized U.S. exports.

United Conservative Party (UCP)

The United Conservative Party has committed to fight for market access and to reduce interprovincial trade barriers for the agriculture sector. We will fight back against attacks on agriculture by well-funded special interests – in many ways, these resemble the campaign of vilification targeting Alberta’s energy industry in recent years. Our Red Tape Reduction Action Plan will reduce the overall regulatory burden by one-third, and the agriculture sector in particular will be targeted in our search for unreasonable and inefficient red tape. We have also pledged to repeal Bill 6 and really consult with farmers to get the balance right between the uniqueness of a family farm and the need to ensure basic safety.

2.  What is your party’s position on the grain transportation system and the ability to move grain to export market in an accountable and efficient manner, considering possible future overcrowding on the rail system?

Alberta Independence Party (AIP)

Rail is not for non renewables. The New Alberta Landlocked Nation will resolve this absolutely.

Alberta Liberal Party (LIP)

The Alberta Liberals have been vocal in our criticism of the NDP’s risky oil-by-rail plan and, among other things, worry that it will jeopardize rail access for the agriculture industry.

Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP)

Rachel Notley is firmly committed to getting all of Alberta’s products to market, be it grains, oil, petrochemicals, or any other goods that hard working Albertans have produced for export. Improving our transportation network, and ensuring that it works for grain farmers, is a priority for Rachel Notley and her team. We will work with the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association to ensure the promises enshrined in Bill C-49 are realized, and that railways are held accountable for the movement of grain. We will also continue with our advocacy work to improve our export infrastructure, for example, by actively supporting the Port of Vancouver in its expansion application that is currently being reviewed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).

Alberta Party (AP)

We firmly believe that there is great opportunity to support the building of a new rail line which would move products north to our Alaskan neighbors. The Alaskan Governor has just been given the green light by the Trump Administration to begin projects which would link his State with Alberta. We are the first and only Party to bring this new rail link into the discussion and we believe it is part of a game changing solution for our province’s transportation challenges in several different industries.

Communist Party - Alberta (CP - A)

We have not addressed grain shipment specifically, but we do advocate a major “green” redevelopment of transportation systems, including rail, to expand and diversify our economy while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint.

United Conservative Party (UCP)

The United Conservative Party recognizes that transportation systems are integral for farmers to be paid for their crop yield. The United Conservative Party opposes the NDP’s crude-by-rail scheme and sees it as unnecessary market intervention – especially when producers are willing to increase shipments by rail at their own expense. The NDP’s approach on this issue doesn’t just risk tax dollars, but risks further crowding the rails and impacting the main transportation method for Alberta’s agricultural products.

3.  What is your party’s position on the development of agricultural innovations that make farmers more profitable and sustainable, with a science-based regulatory approval process for the introduction of new technologies, including the adoption of genetically modified crops?

Alberta Independence Party (AIP)

Agriculture has been highjacked by foreign and domestic State/Global interests. We are down to 49,000 farmers in Alberta. Agricultural innovation is important but we must separate from Ottawa and release the Crown lands first. We will need your help.

Alberta Liberal Party (LIP)

The Alberta Liberals support innovation within the agriculture industry, but have concerns about the risks of genetically modified crops and the overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP)

We want our economy to be resilient, and we know we can be leaders in the 21st century economy. We support innovation in all Alberta industries, including agriculture. We believe in a scientific, evidence based, regulatory approval process. Following the election, we would be happy to sit down with grain farmers and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association to have a meaningful discussions on what additional steps the government could take to advance innovation in the sector.

Alberta Party (AP)

The Alberta Party, again, supports innovation and diversification in all sectors of our economy, and believe these are most capable in the Ag Industry. New technologies, including genetically modified crops, along with organic farming, all contribute to moving Ag forward and providing more economic opportunities for our Ag families.

Communist Party - Alberta (CP - A)

We advocate increased research and development in universities and other public research settings, with the patents to be retained by the government. It is important to bring research and development back into the public domain for several reasons. 1. So that new technologies and products can be developed and introduced for the benefit of farmers and the public, without the burden of profits being siphoned off by corporations. 2. So that scientific resources can be directed to solving the most critical problems for the food supply and the environment, not the most profitable ones for the companies doing the research. It is particularly important to put resources into developing new crop varieties and methods in the face of climate change. 2. So that the costs and benefits can be evaluated with scientific objectivity, undistorted by profit motives. We are opposed to genetically modified crops because we consider it dangerous to the food security of Alberta, Canada and the rest of the world to allow a private corporation to own the genetic basis of food production. We should not let Monsato be able to hold us to ransom. It is also bad strategy to increase monoculture, especially in the era of climate uncertainty – we need to have a broader base of varieties at our disposal to meet the threats that are sure to arise from changing pests and plant diseases, and the corporate model of GMO development narrows the genetic basis of commercial crops rather than broadening it. Some time in the future when the threat of private corporate control has been eliminated, we will be in a position to objectively evalute the risks and benefits of any given GMO.

United Conservative Party (UCP)

The United Conservative Party believes that farmers, not government, should set key agriculture research priorities, and that we should be more of a world leader in agricultural innovation. A United Conservative government will fight back against attacks on agriculture by well-funded special interests, which in many ways resemble similar efforts to vilify Alberta’s energy sector. We will let science and the consensus from farmers lead a streamlined approvals process for agricultural innovations.

4.  What is your party’s position on a carbon pricing system, including on a credit and debit system that acknowledges the significant carbon reductions being achieved by prairie grain growers through farming techniques and sequestering?

Alberta Independence Party (AIP)

We will end Carbon Pricing on Alberta. Farmers must remain competitive.

Alberta Liberal Party (LIP)

The existence of Alberta’s carbon market is unknown to many, particularly in light of the carbon tax that was introduced by the NDP. However, the Alberta Liberals recognize that the market is of huge importance to farmers, who can generate carbon credits – and therefore make money – simply by employing best farming practices.

Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP)

Albertans deserve a leader who fights for clean air, water, and takes action on climate change. We will continue with our Climate Leadership Plan, which includes an exemption on marked fuels for agricultural producers, and invests $81 million in farms to transition to lower energy and energy efficient equipment. We also appreciate that Alberta must adapt to the realities of climate change, and that means investing in climate change adaptation projects. Through Climate Leadership Plan funding, we will continue to invest in the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program, that enhances watershed resiliency to floods and droughts, which is of particular concern in Southern Alberta.

Alberta Party (AP)

The Alberta Party announced it’s intentions of dropping the Carbon Levy on everyday people and businesses, while keeping that levy on heavy emitters. We would then have those monies that are collected to assist with environmental innovation, such as the ones you are suggesting, along with supporting further technology in zero till and land management.

Communist Party - Alberta (CP - A)

The Communist view is that pricing in the market is a relatively crude tool for reducing GHG emissions. We aren’t going to demonize the carbon tax, but the big benefits will arise from taking control of the oil and gas sector resources, and using the wealth to diversify the economy in a planned way, created non-emitting industries and energy sources. Instead of relying only an accounting system, we would emphasize developing green energy sources and improved agricultural techniques that would be put at the disposal of farmers. We would not rule out subsidies to promote the transition in various sectors of the economy, including agriculture.

United Conservative Party (UCP)

A United Conservative government would scrap the carbon tax, which has negatively affected the agricultural sector through heating and transportation costs, and fallen short of achieving the “social license” the NDP promised with respect to getting our energy resources to market. We know Alberta’s crops, grasslands, and forests are an enormous carbon sink, with the potential to store even more than it already does. The United Conservatives would implement a Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) Fund, which would replace the NDP’s Carbon Capture Incentive Regulation (CCIR). In that policy we have insisted that any offsets purchased by emitters would have to come from within Alberta, and we would absolutely be willing to work with the agriculture sector on ensuring its sequestration techniques are recognized and eligible.

5.  As the next provincial government, what would your top priorities be for farmers and the agriculture industry in Alberta?

Alberta Independence Party (AIP)

We want farmers to have access exclusively to rail. We are adding a half a point tax increase to non domestic farmers (Outside Alberta). Land can only be leased by non Albertans.

Alberta Liberal Party (LIP)

Agriculture is the industry that built Alberta. It is a major contributor to our GDP and the Alberta Liberals are committed to helping the industry thrive.

Protect our Water Supply: The Alberta Liberals will use evidence-based, expert opinion to inform and guide water and irrigation policy in Alberta. A prosperous and sustainable agriculture industry requires that we manage our water supply effectively. Issues around water quality and supply for agricultural uses are now of such critical importance that public policy decisions in this area can no longer afford to be motivated by politics.

Labour Support: The Alberta Liberals would help address shortages in the agriculture labour market by making immigration a high priority in labour programming and immigration policy in part through reforms to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).

Soil Health: Liberals will work with farmers to promote soil health and regeneration, boosting organic matter and reducing the use of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides by encouraging more producers to use multi-species cover crops where feasible.

Chronic Wasting Disease: To protect Alberta’s livestock and meat industry we must acknowledge the serious risks posed by chronic wasting disease, an infectious and incurable brain disease found in deer, elk and moose, akin to Mad Cow Disease, and adopt appropriate measures to control and eliminate the potential for it to be transmitted to livestock and/or human populations. We’re already losing overseas markets for our meat products by not seriously addressing this danger.

Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP)

Rachel Notley is committed to ensuring that our agricultural producers thrive now, and into the future. We are proud that we cleaned up a culture of waste and entitlement at the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation that Conservatives let fester for many years, and we are proud that progress has been made to secure grain transportation. Building on these successes, a re-elected government under the leadership of Rachel Notley will streamline processes and reduce wait times for farmers applying for government approvals related to farmland, including environmental permits and lease transfers. We will help farmers reduce waste with a new system for recycling agricultural plastics. And we will develop a unit to assist retiring farmers in succession planning, and to encourage younger farmers into the industry.

Alberta Party (AP)

#1 priority for the Ag industry: aid in the sustainability and profitability of the Industry. We will achieve this by working closer with Producers and stake holders than any other government has. This is vital and critical in achieving true diversification. We also announced corporate taxes be lowered from 12 to 10 percent, along with 100 percent capital gains right off in the first year of equipment purchases, which will help Ag Business sustain and grow to face the challenges of our global competitors.

Communist Party - Alberta (CP - A)

To quote from our election platform: 12. Support Alberta’s family farms: Extend provincial marketing boards to provide stable markets for crops and livestock through single-desk selling at fair prices set by the cost of production. Set price controls on staple foods for Northern Albertan communities; Support organic farming that reduces the use of antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides and other potentially harmful farm inputs, and ban “terminator” seeds in Alberta.

United Conservative Party (UCP)

A United Conservative government would, above all, listen to farmers and be their ally, instead of talking down to them.

We would slash the regulatory burden and restore common sense to a streamlined AFSC as well as safety and employment code.  Our Farm Freedom Act would include common-sense exemptions that take into account that farms are unique: among other things, the home and workplace blend together, and protecting animal safety and harvesting crops are not 9-5 jobs.

We would allow farmers to choose something other than WCB for workplace insurance, restoring their ability to choose more comprehensive insurance plans for employees.

We would also ensure Alberta has the strongest property rights protections in Canada, including compensation when government policy and land use changes affect agricultural operations.

Please go to albertastrongandfree.ca to see the details of our comprehensive agricultural platform and more.

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