Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier met with stakeholders and spoke briefly at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference on Wednesday in Red Deer. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINKI/Advocate staff)

Ag minister concerned about UCP’s plan for Bill 6

UCP would repeal the farm safety act

Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier says it’s troubling that the UCP would repeal the farm safety act Bill 6 if elected.

Carlier, who spoke at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference in Red Deer, said UCP leader Jason Kenney’s announcement could potentially put the lives of workers in jeopardy.

“It has been a lot of work, a lot of consultation right across the province, not just for farmers and ranchers and workers, but all Albertans, making sure that the workers in this industry have the same standards that other workers across the province, that other farm workers in other provinces, have had for decades, for generations,” Carlier said after speaking at the conference at Sheraton Red Deer on Wednesday morning.

“It works in other provinces and it is working here in Alberta.”

On Tuesday Kenney said he would repeal the legislation that ensures workplace safety, employment standards and injury coverage on farms because the NDP didn’t consult with farmers before bringing in the law.

Carlier said with the NDP in power only three months prior to announcing the legislation, communication about the bill wasn’t as clear as it could have been.

“But since then the consultation process has been very robust.”

He said agricultural groups got together with government to ensure it works for Alberta farmers.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen said the NDP put the cart before the horse.

“When it comes to good legislation, you have to do proper consultations first, then introduce legislation. That’s how every piece of legislation should be brought forward,” said the UCP MLA.

He said Bill 6 created a lot of uncertainty and red tape. Farmers said it didn’t make sense.

“There were massive protests up at the legislature. It’s something we’ve been very clear with, that we would actually repeal.”

He said pieces of Bill 6 are still problematic, like mandatory WCB coverage. Many farmers now have double the insurance coverage. They still carry the private insurance they have had for long time since it provides better coverage for their workers and they prefer it.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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