An online petition demanding federal aid for financially stressed Canadian pork producers had collected nearly 2,000 signatures earlier this week.
The petition, initiated by a Winnipeg livestock feed company, demands “a federally sponsored emergency funding initiative” for “a fiscal bridge” to help hog farmers through their worst financial crisis in recent memory.
“Failure to act immediately will result in dire consequences via the dissipation of hundreds of thousands of jobs related directly and indirectly to the pork industry, as well as the eventual death of many family farms,” it warns.
Kelly Godlein, who originated the petition in mid-July, said he sends an updated copy electronically to federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s office every week. He also forwards it to other federal and provincial cabinet ministers, government MPs and Manitoba MLAs.
But Godlein, a special analyst with East-Man Feeds, said he’s aggravated by a lack of response.
“I have yet to hear back from a single politician of any particular colour or stripe,” he said.
Ritz has said repeatedly he recognizes the need for immediate aid to the hog industry. But comments by petition signers express frustration at what they see as a lack of action.
Godlein said the industry needs government money to tide them along until market prices recover and producers become profitable again.
He said “receivables have exploded at an unprecedented rate” at his own company. East-Man Feeds has also started to lay off employees at its feed mills across Western Canada.