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Member Statement (4 December 2006)

Member Statement

From Hansard - 4 December 2006

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Support for Biofuel Production

Mr. Hart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, last year at this time, rural Saskatchewan was faced with a lot of negative news. Ag commodity prices were at or near their 25-year lows, Mr. Speaker. And the only bright spot on the horizon at that time was the perspective of the tremendous potential that biofuels had for our province and especially rural Saskatchewan, Mr. Speaker.

Both our provincial government and the federal government, and major political parties at the federal level, recognize the potential that biofuels could have and they supported it. In fact, they supported the producer involvement in this industry, Mr. Speaker.

But what has happened in the last 12 months, Mr. Speaker? Well a couple of things have happened. Private industry has moved forward and are building the biofuels industry. We’ve had the opening of the Husky ethanol plant, the announcement of the Belle Plaine plant, a mega plant in Alberta, Mr. Speaker.

But what has happened to facilitate producer and community involvement in this industry? Well I’ll tell you, Mr. Speaker. Nothing has happened, Mr. Speaker. The Deputy Premier led a delegation to Ottawa recently and was told that the federal government wasn’t ready to make an announcement yet. We don’t know when that will happen, Mr. Speaker.

And so what did we hear from that minister, Mr. Speaker? Ottawa, we’ve got a problem; you’ve got to fix it; and there’s nothing I can do with it. Well with a billion dollars squirreled away in an election surplus fund, that minister certainly can do something, Mr. Speaker. And it’s time he did.

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