Letters: Manitoba government squeezing ranchers out

This letter is in response to Agriculture Minister Blaine Pedersen’s recent misleading comments about Manitoba Crown lands.

Let us tell you about a farmer, a real person who represents many small ranchers. This man worked hard all his life. He fished in the winter, he went to the mines, he drove trucks — anything to keep his farm going. It was his father’s ranch and his grandfather’s ranch. There was nothing there when his grandfather settled. There were no fences, no fields.

Encouraged by the province, that family struggled and made a wilderness into a ranch. For 100 years four generations worked hard but they were never allowed to own their land — they could only lease it from the government. Now jealous and greedy people are going to destroy that man.

The Crown lands department has tripled his rent over the last two years in order to squeeze him out and it is working. He’s having to give back his land and when he does, the government will auction it off. Whatever amount it gets for decades of back-breaking work the province will keep — the rancher will see none of it.

For the last 2-1/2 years, the government has lost tens of millions of dollars that would have been invested in ranches. No sane person has spent or will spend a nickel on Manitoba ranches knowing that in a few years they will have to put their investment back into your auction.

Please answer this question, Minister Pedersen: Why is it OK for people like you and Premier Pallister and MLA Brad Michaleski, who have pensions and hundreds of thousands or even millions’ worth of assets, to take away everything from a family who owns a few acres and leases a humble ranch infested with rocks, swamps and predators, leaving them penniless?

Dale and Sharon Myhre
Crane River

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