Recent History – 2000
Jan. 5, 2000, by Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
A search for solutions to the farm income crisis will bring two Reform Party MPs to the B.C. Peace. Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill and Reform Party agriculture critic Gerry Ritz (Battlefords-Lloydminster) will host a public meeting next Wednesday evening, Jan. 12. It will be held at the Farmington Community Hall, 7 p.m. start.
Figuring out why there is a farming crisis is easy. Hill points to heavy subsidization of European and American farmers, causing a world-wide drop in commodity prices. The hard part is finding a solution.
“I think that everybody, including the farmers themselves, recognize that just the ongoing subsidization by the taxpayers is not the long-term answer to the problem,” Hill said.
Hill and Ritz want to find out what ideas farmers might have for solutions to a crisis that has seen some commodity prices drop by more than half in the past four years.
The meeting will also help arm Reform with the ammunition to put pressure on the Liberal government to do something about the farmers’ plight.
“We see this as one way in which to strengthen our arguments in parliament,” he said. “By being able to tell the government that look, this isn’t just Reformers that are saying this, this is through consultation with grassroots farmers across western Canada.”
And with Ottawa so far away, Hill said it’s also an opportunity for farmers to voice their concerns.
“All too often when an industry like the agricultural sector is faced with a cash crisis like this, there’s no money for these farmers to travel to Ottawa to state their case,” Hill said. “So we want to try and give them every opportunity to come forward and just inform us as to how serious the problem is.”