Wednesday, November 7 – Highlights
President’s Address President Marit reported on the Associations activities. Saskatchewan has been booming however many municipalities have faced school closures. Crop prices have increased but the prospect of a lucrative harvest was marred by various adverse weather conditions.
- SARM continues to be involved with the education tax coalition, as the formula must be amended to address inequities.
- Transportation infrastructure continues to be one of the most important issues facing RMs and the agricultural community.
- SARM is lobbying the federal government for a replacement to the Prairie Grain Roads Program.
- To an extent we have helped address this within the province with the Road to Resources and Clearing the Path Programs.
- SARM is currently participating in a consultation on the rail maintenance formula to ensure that the revenue formula is fair for farmers and shippers.
- SARM also continues to push for regulations to protect single producer rates, as well as ensure access to those cars.
- SARM has been fully engaged in APF II discussions, raising concerns on transportation, biofuel, the environment, and business risk management programs.
- We pushed for assistance for producers in disaster situations.
- SARM was successful in its lobby to reinstate two percent strychnine for gopher control and in August the PMRA announced emergency registration of the product for one year.
- We are pushing the federal government to review the navigable waters act.
- Later this month SARM will be sending representatives to Ottawa to Lobby on your behalf on municipal and agricultural issues.
- Hill and Knowlton public relations firm continues to do very good work for us and will be coordinating our meetings.
- SARM has received funding of $500 from AAMD&C to assist in covering the cost of a young person from Saskatchewan to attend the Rural Matters conference in Edmonton August 2008. SARM is adding $1500 to make a total of $2000 to help cover the cost of two youth delegates.
SARM Insurance Program
Kathie Caleval, SARM Insurance and Benefits Program and Gary Zaran, Adjuster McLarens Scrivener gave an overview of the SARM Insurance program including: status and inspection reports on the SARM property insurance, Self insurance program and the SARM liability self insurance plan. The delegates passed an amendment to the liability Self –Insurance plan.
SARM policy analyst, Tyler Lynch gave the delegates an overview of the agricultural issues that SARM has been working on. These issues include: APF II, transportation, business risk management, environment, biofuels, and the environment. SARM has met with the new Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Secretary of State, Christian Paradis to discuss these issues.
SARM Delegates passed the following resolutions:
2-07M Heavy Haul Program
3-07M Tax Assessment
4-07M Organized Hamlet Status
5-07M Designated Road Regravelling program
6-07M Capitalization of Fixed Assets
7-07M Dust Control
8-07M Grant in Lieu Payments (amended)
10-07M Beaver Bounty
11-07M Plastic Grocery Bags
12-07M Dumping of Garbage
14-07M Highway Ditch Mowing
15-07M ATV Operator Permission
16-07M Cell Phone Use
17-07M Tansy Ragwort
18-07M Municipal Rescue Service Fund1
9-07M Inter-Hospital Transfers (amended)
20-07M Utility Costs for Recreation Facilities
21-07M Gopher Control – Strychnine
22-07M Gopher Control – Strychnine
23-07M Gopher Control – Strychnine
Report on Clearing the Path
Richard Porter reported on Clearing the Path. Phase one has been implemented with 4300 km of road, despite some delays caused by secondary highway links, late requests and waiting on agreements from other jurisdictions. Money is flowing to RMs. The committee is working on developing a road maintenance agreement template.
Judy Dyck, President Saskatchewan Biofuels development Council reported on the state of the biofuel industry in Saskatchewan. The goal of the organization is to develop an inclusive and comprehensive biofuel industry in Saskatchewan and fir SK to be one of the largest and most efficient producers of biofuel in Canada. The goal for biofuel production is 1 billion litres of ethanol production and 400 million litres of biodiesel production by 2015.
Inland Container Port
Dr. Red Williams discussed the work being done on the Prairie to Ports Gateway and Inland Port. Currently SK transportation system is aging and not well connected. The industry is moving from bulk to container shipping, just in time delivery and local suppliers to integrated supply chains. “Saskatchewan traditional and aging transportation system is the Achilles heel to increased value-added manufacturing and exporting.” A Smart Port is defined less on the physical aspects and more on the logistics and coordination over a region, not a single location but a cluster (i.e. Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon). An inland port will reduce congestion at coastal ports, be a central hub serving the prairies and the northern US states, be a center of rail, highway, air and artic transportation corridors and a link to the NAFTA trade corridors.