Question Period
(6 November 2017)

From Hansard - 6 November 2017

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Support for Agricultural Producers Following Fire

Ms. Beck: — Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The wildfires near Burstall, Leader, and Tompkins had tragic human cost. They also scorched tens of thousands of acres of land and claimed the lives of thousands, or of hundreds rather, of cattle. Producers say the fire will have an impact on production for years to come. On Throne Speech day, the Agriculture minister said, “We’re hoping to do more, one way or another.” We also hope that as well, Mr. Deputy Speaker. But like the producers who are suffering, we’d like to know what the plan is sooner than later.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, the government set up a $300 million contingency fund for circumstances like these. To the minister: will this government use their contingency fund to help these producers?

Hon. Mr. Stewart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the member for her question. First of all, I extend my condolences to the family and friends of James Hargrave who lost his life fighting those fires. James was a husband, father, and a cattle producer who will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.

Contact has been made with impacted municipalities, and we’ve been helping producers through those municipalities to dispose of carcasses that were burnt in the fire and in a safe and effective manner, Mr. Speaker. We have veterinarians on the scene and have had for some time to assist with animals that suffered injury from the fires and smoke, but did not die from it, immediately at least. And the programs that are available generally do not cover insurable assets, and most of the losses in these fires, unfortunately, were insurable assets. But we, you know, we’re still evaluating what can be done and, you know, and looking for ways to help without . . . outside of those programs that just don’t fit this situation, I’m sorry to say.


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