Question Period
(7 November 2017)

From Hansard - 7 November 2017

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Support for Agricultural Producers Following Fire

Ms. Beck: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When the Sask Party announced their budget, they included a $300 million contingency fund that was supposed to be used in case of emergency. But they’ve already spent half of it because they suddenly realized that no matter how hard they try, they can’t make collective agreements just go away, and they can’t just cut people’s pay at a whim.

Mr. Speaker, they also included funding for the provincial disaster relief fund. The Agriculture minister has stated that the rules mean that this money isn’t available to producers who lost so much in recent wildfires. Mr. Speaker, at budget time the then minister of Finance said, and I quote, “Every now and then you’re going to have a . . . situation like we had in La Ronge a couple of years ago.”

Mr. Speaker, of course he was speaking about fires. He said that this money was available for exactly this kind of circumstance. So between PDAP [provincial disaster assistance program] and the contingency fund, Mr. Speaker, why can’t the government find the money to help these producers out?

Hon. Mr. Stewart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the member for her question. She cites the PDAP program, Mr. Speaker. And you know, we’ve encouraged the use of the PDAP program in many cases where it applies, and the PDAP program unfortunately does not apply to the loss of insurable assets. For the most part, the losses experienced in the very unfortunate wildfires in southwestern Saskatchewan last month were . . . the bulk of the losses were insurable losses.

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