KAP has long called for highspeed internet access in rural, remote and northern communities – and yesterday’s budget promised to add new money to existing investments to make this happen, says Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers.
“It’s my understanding between $5 billion and $6 billion will be added in order to improve connectivity to over 900 communities in Canada with more than 200,000 kilometres of advanced fibre networks,” he said. “This will help farmers who are now limited in the innovative technology they can access because of poor internet service.”
Campbell also commended the government for its commitment to spend $31 million over the next five year to improve sniffer dog services at border entries, in order to prevent African swine fever from entering Canada. It is brought in on meat in passengers’ luggage, as well as on clothing and personal items. Although harmless to humans, this flu is extremely fatal for pigs.
The Canadian Pork Council estimates African swine fever in Canada would put over 100,000 jobs in jeopardy and cost the Canadian economy $24 billion dollars.
Another positive in the budget, says Campbell, is support for farmers in the supply-managed sectors who were forced to give up market share under the recent new trade agreements – the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. These sectors include dairy, poultry and eggs – and therefore the $2.15 billion in coming years will help them address income losses.
Campbell also noted the federal government has committed to look at the exemptions on farm fuel – so called “purple gas.”
“When the carbon tax was announced, we were told there would be an exemption on farm fuel,” he said. “However, we recently we found out that only fuel delivered to the farm is exempt, but not that accessed from a cardlock system. This system allows farmers to get fuel from unmanned fuel stations, which is often more efficient.
“I am pleased the government has committed to look at this situation, and we will continue to press for this exemption.”
Campbell says KAP will also continue to lobby for carbon tax exemptions on fuels used for grain drying, and heating and cooling of farm buildings, because these taxes will add very considerable amounts to farm expenses.
“We compete on the global market and can’t adjust our prices to reflect these expenses – and this puts us at a very unfair disadvantage compared to our competitors.”
For more information
Bill Campbell – president – 204-724-6218
Patty Rosher – general manager – 204-697-1140
Val Ominski – communications – 204-697-1140