It was mid-December when the Notley government passed rather triumphantly, Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Ranch and Farm Workers Act.
Despite pleas and protests from agriculture producers and organizations to take their time to get the Bill right, the NDPers rammed the Bill through legislature and in a downright snub to rural Alberta, gave one another victorious high-fives upon passing the controversial Bill.
Fast forward to last week, and the once speedy process has slowed to a snail’s pace as Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carter comes up with one excuse after another for why the consultations with industry representatives are not happening as planned.
At present, he does not know when the regulations will be drafted and made public. Meetings with industry leaders various sectors, including Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Grazing Leasholders Association, Alberta Greenhouse Growers, and other organizations, are still in the process of being scheduled.
And the excuses get more elaborate as time wears on. Carlier thus far has said the slowdown in the consultations was because they had several hundred names and groups interested in sitting on committees to draw up the regulations. Now, it is because producers are calving and seeding and too busy to attend any meetings.
He has admitted that he was initially too optimistic when he suggested six working groups would meet in early March and is now reluctant to give a date on when they would meet.
Liberal leader, Dr. David Swann was quick to call out the NDP government on their slow approach and growing list of excuses.
“I’m disappointed that now the minister is making apologies for the fact that it’s calving season. Well, next month is seeding season, next month is fertilizing season, and the next month is harvest season. This isn’t acceptable to drag our feet so significantly on these critical issues where people are dying and getting injured every day on farms and ranches,” said Swann in a media release.
In an April 21 article in the Edmonton Journal, Premier Rachel Notley has finally admitted to having mishandled Bill 6, the lack of consultation, and contradictory explanations of how it would affect farmers.
Perhaps, if Notley and her government had listened to the people in the first place, there would not be the need for all the excuse-making and crow-eating now.