Question Period
(29 March 2018)

From Hansard - 29 March 2018

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Support for Agricultural Extension Services

Mr. Meili: — Mr. Speaker, sometimes we ask questions and we wonder if the Premier is in the same building as we are, because you went nowhere near the very specific and clear question about the closing of those agriculture extension services, Mr. Speaker. You know, not to mention the fact that the decisions being made by this Premier are making it far more likely that we’ll have a plan imposed on us by Trudeau that won’t protect agriculture the way we know we need to.

At the same time, closing offices in all of those communities, in Assiniboia, in Shaunavon and Wadena and so many other communities, these offices are essential to support farmers — changing environmental conditions, changing market conditions. Mr. Speaker, why are those offices being closed, Mr. Speaker? We should be investing more in this time in supporting producers, not leaving all of this up to the private sector but making sure they have unbiased information.

Farmers need access to the research and marketing information today to thrive in tomorrow’s market. So what steps is this government taking to ensure that Saskatchewan’s agricultural producers have the supports and the information they need to succeed?

Hon. Mr. Stewart: — Changing extension services to better meet the needs of agriculture is what we will continue to do when necessary, Mr. Speaker. With these recent changes there will be no job losses. The new model maintains the existing 10 regional offices in their current locations around the province.

The staff complement in each office will be tailored to meet the needs of the region and the demand upon that office. The new extension delivery model is designed to advance the new federal-provincial Canadian agricultural program, or CAP [Canadian Agricultural Partnership], which will replace Growing Forward after April 1st, 2018. Mr. Speaker, we will continue to do this in consultation with the industries we have in the past.

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