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Wednesday, 02 December 2015 15:09

Bill 6 is causing angst amongst farmers

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Editor:

This was a letter sent to the Premier of Alberta Rachel Notley, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Lori Sigurdson, MLA Medicine Hat Robert Wanner and MLA Cypress-Medicine Hat Drew Barnes.
Like many Albertans, I work and live in a rural community. Farming and ranching has a long and storied heritage in our community and our province. One only has to visit the many annual stampedes and exhibitions across our province, be it the Calgary Stampede and Exhibition, or the Medicine Hat Stampede and Exhibition to see the contribution that farming and ranching has had in the building of our province.
The recently introduced Bill 6 has produced much confusion, anxiety, and fear in an already economic time of uncertainty for many Albertans, especially those who own and operate a farm or ranch.
As a rural high-school teacher, I have seen many farms and ranches proudly worked by students and their parents, and have seen nothing but frustration and anxiety on their faces in regards to Bill 6.
I was especially concerned to read that Bill 6 was introduced first into the Legislature before proper and extensive consultation was given with the farming and ranching community across our province.
Though many would agree that it is time to improve the overall safety and work environment, to implement legislation without input from those whose safety and work place that you seek to improve not only does not seem wise, but also puts in doubt the effectiveness and quality of that legislation.
I also believe that forcing this legislation through, without proper consultation, could damage the relationship between our government and the farming and ranching community to the detriment of everyone in our province.
I would strongly urge you to halt Bill 6 and engage in comprehensive and extensive consultation with the Albertan farming and ranching community. Allow them to provide input and help craft legislation that will truly improve safety and the workplace environment on the farm and ranch while at the same time reassuring our farmers and ranchers that they are valued and that they will be able to continue to pass on their unique and treasured heritage to their children and to their families.
In short, if our provincial government truly seeks to have effective new farm safety legislation, then it needs to engage and enlist the farming and ranching community in creating a truly made in Alberta solution and not attempt to impose legislation that might hinder, hurt, and frustrate those who have helped build our province and who provide us with such a rich heritage and a promise of prosperous future.
Thank you for taking the time to read my correspondence. Please feel free to e-mail any comments or questions that you might have.
Scott Raible, Medicine Hat

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