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Legislative Report (28 July 2005)

Legislative Report

28 July 2005

Apparently the NDP government is only willing to support our producers when times are good. This week NDP Agriculture Minister Mark Wartman announced that the government would finally be fully funding the 2004 Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization program. While this is a good news announcement, it does raise a number of questions about the governmentís commitment to Saskatchewan producers.

Many of you will remember last year when the NDP government waited until December to announce it would fully fund the 2003 crop year. While this yearís announcement is earlier, it still comes after seeding. Producers should have this information in hand when they are making decisions for the year ahead. They should not be waiting and worrying throughout that year, wondering how and if they will be able to make ends meet. While the Saskatchewan Party is supportive of the governmentís desire to have a change in the 60/40 federal-provincial cost sharing of the CAIS program, we do not believe farmers should be used as pawns in an attempt to get that change. Saskatchewan producers are tired of being held for ransom by this NDP government.

The NDP government waited to sign onto the CAIS program until they were completely satisfied. They are now signatories to an agreement that involves a 60/40 cost split and itís an agreement that should be honoured every year until the agreement is changed. There should be no question about fully funding the CAIS program. But with the NDP government, it is always a question. And that makes their commitment to farmers seem less than honest.

The other part of this announcement that makes one question the NDP governmentís commitment to producers and farm families is the fact that this announcement was made because of unexpected revenues from oil prices. So, what that tells me is that the NDP government will only stand by producers when times are good. What happens when oil prices drop? Will we see a simultaneous drop in commitment? Saskatchewan producers deserve a government that provides leadership and competence on issues like this. Itís a shame that the NDP governmentís commitment to producers is whimsical at best.

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