The NDP still don’t seem to get what all the fuss is about.
When they introduced Bill 6, the so-called “Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act”, the NDP just what they always do. They ignored legitimate concerns raised by farmers and ranchers – those most affected by the new law – and they rammed it through the Alberta Legislature with only minimal time devoted to consultation or debate.
Sadly, this has become a familiar pattern from the NDP – impose draconian new laws, without consultation, and then announce changes and amendments after widespread dissatisfaction erupts. They told us we have to pass the bill before we can consult on it!
Given the importance of Alberta’s farms and ranches, not only to rural Alberta but to the entire Alberta economy, you would have thought the NDP might try to get Bill 6 right the first time—instead of passing a patchwork of amendments after the fact.
When it was introduced late last year, tens of thousands of everyday Albertans protested the proposed legislation. Perhaps the NDP thought that because Albertans are normally reserved about public protests, the government could get away with this attack on Alberta’s family farms and ranches without anyone noticing.
They were wrong.
Albertans have always placed a value on those who contribute significantly to our economy – our farmers and ranchers. The NDP tried to paint these family-run businesses as uncaring & dangerous operations completely devoid of workplace safety.
The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Generations of hardworking Alberta farmers and ranchers understand that their family-run businesses reflect a way of life that has been part of our province’s history since it was founded.
Concerns regarding safety and working conditions are taken very seriously, and addressed in a significant number of ways.
What they disagree with is the NDP’s government-knows-best approach which imposes city-centric approached to health and safety onto farms and ranches, while ignoring the very real differences that exist between ranching, farming, and other industries.
While their intent may have been positive, the fact remains that the NDP failed to do any meaningful consultation with farmers and ranchers before they introduced Bill 6, and then forced through a piece of legislation that has caused significant hardship for these family businesses.
They refused to listen to their critics, and only changed course when Alberta erupted in protest.
Jason Kenney has been absolutely clear that he will repeal Bill 6 at the earliest opportunity. He will engage in meaningful consultation with Alberta’s farmers and ranchers, and will ensure that their concerns are addressed in any subsequent legislation.
It’s time Alberta had a government that actually listened to Albertans. It’s time to unite Alberta and defeat the NDP in 2019.