Saturday marked the annual Farmworkers’ Day but instead of being a celebration, many say it’s been marred by a politician’s shameful promise.
Progressive Conservative leadership contender Jason Kenney has promised to repeal Bill 6 if he becomes premier. Bill 6 is a piece of legislation that was passed by the NDP intended to protect waged workers on farms and create industry employment standards.
It was so controversial it triggered province-wide protests for weeks.
In a statement released to Global News, Kenney stated “The NDP announced Bill 6 without consulting those most affected. Rural Alberta sees Bill 6 for exactly what it is: an ideological attack from an urbanite NDP government that understands little about how rural Albertan families have lived and worked for generations.”
But Liberal leader David Swann insisted it was a necessary workplace law. He says Kenney’s efforts to repeal the bill can only be called crass political opportunism.
“He’s going to have a big fight on his hands. All of Canada now sees Alberta as a pariah in terms of protection for farm workers and most Albertans know it’s unacceptable to leave farm workers preventably injured or unprotected,” Swann said.
Stavely rancher and farmer Larry Sears applauded Kenney’s commitment. He’s a fifth-generation rancher who opposes Bill 6.
“It was totally unnecessary and it’s an intrusion into a productive segment of society that didn’t need a union imprint on it,” Sears said.
Before Bill 6, the only way injured farm workers could receive compensation was through the courts.