SARM lobbies federal government
SARM President Dave Marit, Vice-president Jim Hallick and Director Ray Orb recently returned from a successful lobby trip to Ottawa where they raised rural issues with federal politicians and bureaucrats.
One of the priority issues SARM raised was a renewed rural roads program, to replace the Prairie Grain Roads Program (PGRP) and help erase the rural infrastructure deficit. SARM and other municipal groups, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), have been informed that funding for infrastructure is part of the Building Canada Fund, and it will be a matter of prioritization at the provincial level to target specific programs. While SARM will continue to push for a renewed federal grain roads program, the organization will also work with the provincial government on accessing necessary dollars from the fund for rural roads.
SARM also raised the Navigable Waters Act with MPs and department officials. The Act is over 120 years old and impedes infrastructure repair and maintenance. SARM was assured that there is a strong interest to move forward on the issue; however, in a minority government there may be delays in changing such legislation. Until the Act is amended, SARM will be requesting federal assistance for increases in project costs caused by the present legislation.
SARM also highlighted various agriculture issues, emphasizing the current crisis facing the Canadian livestock industry due to high input costs and low returns, related to the strong Canadian dollar, and also raised concerns on proposed regulations on traceability and humane transportation. The federal government is discussing this issue this week with cattle and pork groups. Given the severity of the crisis, SARM has asked the government to move forward on this issue to quickly provide short term relief, while planning a long-term strategy in future business risk management programs.
“There are a multitude of issues facing rural Saskatchewan right now,” said SARM President David Marit. “It is vital that the federal government recognize the infrastructure demands facing municipalities and the pressures on our agriculture producers, and that we work together to resolve these issues.”
For more information contact:
SARM Executive Director