When an MLA is elected, whether by as little as one vote, the majority of voters in their constituency have democratically elected them as their next representative.
Why then is the minister of agriculture so opposed to allowing the cattle producers of this province the same rights when it comes to their own organization? Alberta Beef Producers is the elected representative of 28,000 producers. Each and every producer has the right to sign a nomination form to run as a candidate each fall. They have the right to elect who represents their zone and their industry. They have the right to help set policy and steer the organization for the betterment of our industry.
By making the check-off refundable, the Alberta government has decided that feedlots will control all of the beef industry and that their interest is more important than that of the grassroots producer. It is the same mentality they used when making sure that the feeding industry received the majority of the AFRP II funds.
On a talk radio program last week, Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld and MLA Doug Griffiths refused to even consider a plebiscite, saying it might be a 50/50 split. Groeneveld then stated that he would not even accept changes if 80 per cent of producers disagreed with him. Griffiths was invited to meet with the beef industry in his constituency prior to Bill 43 being introduced in legislature. He refused the invitation.
Who will fund legal challenges like COOL, WTO and countervail? International legal challenges must be paid for by industry. Will the splinter organizations pass the hat?
Democracy has fallen out of this government’s vocabulary.
Judy Fenton, Irma, Alta.