Notes from the Legislature

Pat Rehn,
Lesser Slave Lake

I hope August is starting off strong for everyone in Lesser Slave Lake. August is a month full of all the joys summer can possibly contain and in a region as lovely as Lesser Slave Lake there is no shortage of places to savour the season and great people to do it with.
Starting with the biggest news of the previous month, the federal government will be considering the radical decision to curtail nitrogen fertilizers by 30 per cent over the next eight years. This is a uniquely complex issue and opinions from all sides should be considered, but as a matter of practical familiarity with farming and the inputs farmers require to get the outputs of market crops, this decision, without serious consideration and nuance in respect to the implications it has for farming yields, can be catastrophic.
We do not need to look too far back into the past to perhaps see a glimpse of the future with such policies. The south Asian country of Sri Lanka, which in previous months disintegrated into a state of popular uprising against its government, exemplifies this possibility. It truly began the track to this popular unrest and mass economic calamity when in April 2021, the Sri Lankan state unilaterally banned fertilizer usage in their agriculture, which sustains the islands 22 million residents, to better cultivate their environment, social and governance [ESG] ratings, which shot up to 98/100 or the third most ESG friendly jurisdiction on the planet.
The reward was initially good headlines but what ensued was a total breakdown in the Sri Lankan economy as yields dropped by about 50 per cent. This added greatly to an economic disaster pressured by inflation and spiking prices making access to energy more difficult. Sounds familiar?
There is no lack of nobility in pursuing better and more prudent stewardship of the lands that sustain us all, but such a direction is ill-conceived and ill-planned. As the demand for food only increases over time, Canada and Alberta will have a critical role to play in the face to keep mouths fed. It would be a disservice to the whole world as well as the prosperity of hard-working Canadians who farm to so fundamentally handicap our prospective agricultural productivity. Our Alberta government will do its best to stand up for our hard-working agricultural producers in the face of this possibility.
A piece of good news to accompany this August is the fact that gas prices in Alberta remain the lowest on average in Canada by a considerable margin. Retaining this lower than average price means higher quality of living and a less expensive burden for constituents when it comes to how much their groceries and commute to work cost.
Alberta’s government will continue emphatically fighting for more common sense policies in concern with taxation and other policies the federal government has pursued to our disadvantage when it comes to prices at the pumps.
As always, my office is ready to help.

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