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Give Candidates An Earful, Urges Dahl

Aslide show backed by a soundtrack of stirring drumbeats and martial music, entitled Unite in the Fight, set the tone for the Manitoba Beef Producers District 1 annual meeting.

With an eye on the upcoming provincial election, the video was followed by a wish list of policy positions outlined by general manager Cam Dahl, who urged ranchers to adopt an activist stance aimed at putting pressure on the candidates for all parties.

Talk to your candidates, give them questionnaire that we ve prepared, and go out to your all-candidates meetings and ask questions, said Dahl.

We want to make sure that candidates hear these issues over and over again until they get tired of them.

To make sure that would-be politicians put their positions in writing for all to see, MBP will post the questionnaires on its website by Sept. 26.

With this spring s flooding highlighting the need for water management in the province, the group is calling for any changes to regulations to be strictly voluntary, controlled and delivered by landowners, and paid for from the public purse.

The near-universal support by all parties on some form of ecological goods and services (EG&S) shows that government is keen to step into the environmental fray, but Dahl warned that ranchers won t stand for any program that isn t based on science.

The Save Lake Winnipeg Act, which specifically targets agriculture, he said, is an example of bad legislation.

If they come out with regulations that are not science based, they are going to find us a really strong opponent, said Dahl.

NO MORE CHECKOFF

Ending MCEC s $2 per head checkoff, that has so far collected some $6 million from ranchers with the goal of establishing a federally inspected meat plant in the province, is also a priority for MBP in the coming election.

Manitoba beef producers have not benefited from that, said Dahl. We think that MCEC has taken enough of your money.

On TB-eradication efforts, Dahl said that MBP s call for a TB coordinator to bring together four separate arms of government and two levels of government could break the gridlock that effectively discounts all cattle moving south of the border, and causes endless headaches for ranchers near the park.

Stopping short of calling for a TB czar, Dahl said that a single person with authority to carry out a plan could break the impasse and achieve results.

We really are in a position of bureaucratic deadlock, he said. Nobody s responsible for it. You can t point to one minister and say this is the guy who is responsible for eradicating TB.

MBP is also calling for full compensation for economic losses due to quarantines, he added.

Other policy changes being pushed by the group include making Crown leases easier for lesees to buy, as well as 100 per cent compensation of the cost of raising livestock lost to predators, and an elimination of the 24-hour time limit for trappers called into to remove wolves or coyotes.

Given the rural-urban divide that seems to be growing year after year, the provincial election represents an opportunity for agriculture, and especially the ranching community, to make its voice heard, said Dahl.

We have people sitting in government that don t understand agriculture and don t understand rural Manitoba, he said. That s a problem not just for people in Deloraine, but also Brandon, Portage and Winnipeg because we are a crtitical driver of the economy. As we go, so goes the province.

daniel. [email protected]

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Wewanttomakesure thatcandidateshear theseissuesoverand overagainuntilthey gettiredofthem.

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