Saturday, April 28, 2012

Goodale Meets With Top Saskatchewan Cattlemen - About Conservative Cuts

Wrong-minded cuts by Conservatives hurt Canada's Beef exports...  Ralph Goodale spend time with Saskatchewan's top cattlemen to discuss the situation...

Lots of Saskatchewan people seemed to be in Ottawa this week -- among them, members of the Cattlemen's Association (SCA). It was my pleasure to have a great discussion with Vice-President Ryan Thompson and District 1 Director Ryan Beierbach.

The beef business is heavily export oriented, so we talked about trade, especially market opportunities in Japan, Korea and Europe, and the need for legislation to fix the stubborn "Country of Origin" labeling problem in the US.

Budget cuts closing International Trade offices, including all those in Saskatchewan, will not be helpful.

We discussed the need for larger federal investments in beef-related research, and noted the industry has increased its own contributions to research by 150-percent. Forages and meat science are two areas needing strong attention.

Labour shortages is another concern.  Beef producers need a more effective way to access Temporary Foreign Workers with the skills and aptitude for challenging work in rural Canada.

Again, budget cuts closing Citizenship & Immigration offices, including all those in Saskatchewan, will not be helpful.

Neither is it a good idea to shut-down PFRA Community Pastures. They provide vital grazing capacity that must stay in grazing, be properly managed and remain accessible on a fair and reasonable basis. None of this is accomplished by federal budget cutting.

Another nasty cut affects food inspection, especially the closure of the CFIA office in Moose Jaw -- the most important one for the beef industry. This will make getting timely signatures on export documents very problematic.

Finally, we discussed the ongoing need for a national "price and basis" insurance program for cattle producers. I have long supported this concept, but in its "austerity budget" the federal government has left little room for constructive new ideas.

Ryan and Ryan did a great job of presenting the SCA's positions. The Government of Canada should be listening!

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