By Samantha Johnson
Westwind Weekly News
It’s been a busy summer for MP Glen Motz — out and about at all the events going on in communities who are bringing out their best to sluff off two years of housebound pandemic blues. Grand openings, pancake breakfasts, parades, competitions and rodeos, there were many days when Motz was attending two or three events, getting out there to meet and talk with his constituents.
One point of conversation is this year’s dryland harvest. “It depends where,” stated Motz, “there is optimism with respect to the harvest with the amount of rain we’ve had. I’ve talked to some folks who already have their crop off, it wasn’t as good a yield as they hoped but it was slightly above average.”
Where rain was spottier, yields are average. The heat wave of the past month has affected the quality of the crops, although, compared to other years, optimism still seems to be there when it comes to hay and cereal crops. “I talked to a fellow the other day, his crops were not very good but better than last year. They are north of the city towards the Saskatchewan border, so it is drier, and they had hail, which has been sporadic throughout the region over the past month or so.”
Weather isn’t the only thing affecting producers. Input costs are skyrocketing in some areas. Grain producers not only have to deal with the carbon tax and rising fuel costs, but also with increased fertilizer and chemical prices rising.
“Input costs per acre are continuing to rise at a significant rate year over year. While many of those commodity prices are giving good returns on some of the grains, those inputs are offsetting some of those profit margins,” said Motz.
Those with cattle are concerned that prices aren’t as strong as they once were. Hay prices are up and, with the drought, it can still be difficult to get, although, again, this year it seems to have eased a bit.
Another challenge for Motz and growers in the area is the lack of support from the current federal government. As he explained, “this current government has been slow to understand and have no grasp of the agricultural industry in our country. That is evident by some of the responses we’ve had to our droughts. We have a global food crisis and Canada is a major contributor to the global food demand. We are going to put our farmers and the global food supply food chains at risk by reducing fertilizer consumption for no other reason than an ideological motivation, which makes no sense to producers I’ve spoken to, and it makes no sense to me.”
Another concern for producers this year was the lack of poison control for gophers. Health Canada regulates chemical products from chemicals and a balance is required regarding protection of the environment. However, as Motz explained, “that also includes our cropland and there are no greater stewards of the environment than the agricultural community. If you don’t look after the land, it won’t look after you. I learned that early on in my time growing up (in Central Alberta, north and east of Hanna) watching my parents and how they cared for everything, including wetlands, pasture lands, and cultivated land. There seems to be decisions made devoid of common sense in Ottawa by people who’ve probably never been on a farm.”
With Pierre Poilievre winning the Conservative leadership, and being born and raised in Calgary, Motz feels he understands the issues faced within the breadbasket of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta with agricultural lands and cattle.
“I haven’t heard anything other than people are looking forward to a new leader and that we can challenge Trudeau in the next federal election to get a Conservative government in.” Motz says he is hearing those sentiments everywhere he goes. Most local support appears to be for Poilievre, and Motz thinks Poilievre will be the leader to kick the Trudeau government to the curb.
In the July 29 Medicine Hat News, an article written by Motz called ‘Canada Can’t Wait: Hope Springs Eternal’ was featured. In it, he discusses the optimism in his riding and the number of people with renewed hope. Concerns with the current government are high and it is hoped with a new Conservative leader, things can get back to the way they should be.
“People are hopeful that a new federal Conservative leader,” wrote Motz in the article, “with realistic views and an action plan directed toward Canada’s economic recovery, with reduced taxes and controlled government spending, will positively impact their day-to-day lives after years of the Trudeau Liberals. And, as important as keeping more of their hard-earned money in their own pockets, Canadians are looking forward to a return of the democratic freedoms that are the foundation of our great country, which have gradually eroded over the last seven years.