A second prominent farm leader has stepped down to make a bid for federal politics, and for the same party ticket in the same riding.
Manitoba Beef Producers president Ben Fox, who ranches near Dauphin, stepped down from his post August 7, announcing his plans to seek the Conservative Party of Canada nomination for MP in Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa. He has served at the helm of the MBP since February 2017.
Last month Dan Mazier resigned as president of Keystone Agricultural Producers to announce his candidacy in the same riding. Mazier farms near Justice.
The decision to seek the nomination was not made easily or quickly, but federal politics has long been on his mind, Fox said.
“I guess I’ve always contemplated it, or thought about it,” he said. “It’s a big time commitment.”
He said long conversations with his wife, and meeting with many individuals in the riding have convinced him this is the right decision.
“It became apparent I’d have a tremendous amount of support.”
He said it’s also clear to him that Ottawa needs grassroots voices, and those with a working knowledge of the agricultural sector speaking to the needs and issues affecting rural people.
Issues that especially concern him right now include the federal Liberals’ incoming carbon tax and the impact it will have both on rural people and the agricultural sector as well as other natural resource-based industries such as forestry and mining.
The amount of rural crime also troubles him, adding he knows first hand what it’s like to have property stolen.
Resigning from MBP was a tough decision, Fox said. At the helm since February 2017, Fox has helped the organization navigate a wide range of issues, including cattle predation, animal transport regulation, disease and animal health issues and the Crown Lands file.
This role gave him an opportunity to serve and give back to the industry, he said.
“I feel a great duty to give back to the beef industry, which has been so good to myself and my family,” he said. “I felt it was necessary to step up and do what I could do to help the beef industry for future generations and help producers who are in the industry now to be successful.”
Sitting Conservative MP Robert Sopuck announced earlier this year he would not be seeking re-election.
MBP vice-president Tom Teichroeb will assume the role of president on an interim basis and the MBP board of directors will meet August 28 to discuss filling the vacancy.