CALGARY, AB: Today, Wheat Growers Alberta Directors—Stephen Vandervalk (Vice President, Alberta; grain farmer near Fort Macleod), Matt Sawyer (Secretary-Treasurer; grain farmer and rancher near Acme), and Devin Dreeshen (Director; grain farmer in Red Deer County)—released the following statement responding to the Government of Alberta announcement on the creation of the Working Groups with regard to developing standards and regulations on Bill 6:
“After delaying this announcement for several months—causing significant uncertainty in the farming and ranching community throughout Alberta—it’s insulting to see the government, yet again, kick sand in the faces of the tens of thousands of hard-working farmers and ranchers in our great province.
“The ag community joined forces in an unprecedented way to work together in the AgCoalition—the AgCoalition membership represents over 97 per cent of the agriculture industry in Alberta—and work positively, and in good faith, with government on the development of standards and regulations around Bill 6, after the total lack of consultation and rapid passage of the Bill in December.
“But it’s clear Bill 6 is a sham of a process that’s never been, and never will be, about farm safety—it’s clearly a Big Labour play, and nothing more.
“So today the government announced (on a Friday before the May long weekend, while grain growers are still seeding) the six chairs of the Working Groups, which include: A specialist in ‘grievance mediation,’ a ‘professor’ and ‘labour mediator,’ a ‘Certified Professional Facilitator,’ and three lawyers—not a farmer to be seen.
“Beyond the chairs, 78 Working Group members were announced, with 23 being part of the AgCoalition, which means the AgCoalition’s representation of over 97% of the ag sector in Alberta will represent 29% of the government Working Group tables—and 0% of the chair positions.
“From the counterproductive carbon tax on farmers who are already reducing GHGs, to the government ending the effective farmer-government consultation process through the Alberta Grains Council, to this debacle around Bill 6, it’s clear farmers and ranchers need to work together, now more than ever, to fight and ensure government regulations work for real Alberta farmers and ranchers, and not just work for Big Labour in Edmonton.”
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.