NDP leaders in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba are urging their respective provincial governments to head back to the table with Ottawa and sign the full AgriStability proposal.
Defined on the government of Canada website, “AgriStability is a margin-based program designed to help producers manage large income declines. Each year, you must enroll in the program, pay your fee and submit a form by the applicable deadlines.”
On March 25, a partial agreement was made among the Prairie provinces and the federal government to make changes to the program in which the reference margin limit was removed.
However, the premiers in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba would not invest funds to help change the compensation rate from 70 to 80 per cent, according to the NDP.
“The fact is that there is an urgency to act now, while we have a federal government that is at the table ready to make real reforms,” said Ryan Meili, Saskatchewan NDP leader.
“That has not always been the case. This is a significant opportunity to strengthen and sustain the economic recovery on the prairies.”
Eleven agriculture organizations from across the sector in Alberta released a joint statement urging the province to sign the full proposal by the feds.
“Agricultural producers made their voices clear that they do not want to settle for half of this proposal,” said Rachel Notley, Alberta NDP leader.
“Agriculture is key to driving economic recovery on the Prairies. The Prairie provincial governments need to stop using farmers as bargaining chips and instead invest what is needed to complete this deal.”
Like Alberta, Manitoba producers called on the province to sign the full proposal. The Key Agriculture Producers called the province’s unwillingness to sign “discouraging and disappointing.”
“After everything prairie producers have been through in recent years, the last thing they need is conservative leadership that puts partisan fights ahead of their livelihoods,” said Wab Kinew, Manitoba NDP leader.
“It’s time to put away the egos and get this deal done for Prairie producers and the Canadian families that rely on them.”
Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau is still allowing the three provinces to agree to the full proposal.
Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have all signed on, but the agreement requires two-thirds of provinces to go forward.