With the federal election scheduled in less than a month, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) would like to highlight key priorities for rural Saskatchewan and remind rural ratepayers to ask questions of party candidates.
“We champion the value of rural Saskatchewan,” states SARM President Ray Orb. “The 2021 federal election is an opportunity to ask important questions on rural broadband infrastructure, carbon tax and offsets, infrastructure funding for rural municipalities, and better ag safety nets.”
Broadband is an essential service, not unlike electricity and water, and is fundamental to the economic and social wellbeing of our rural municipalities. It has proven critical in the delivery of healthcare, education, and other key supports during COVID-19. The introduction of carbon pricing in Saskatchewan has increased costs for agriculture and is threatening the competitiveness of Saskatchewan producers in their ability to provide a reliable source of high-quality food. It is key that the federal carbon offset system that is being developed recognizes the past and ongoing efforts of the technologies that agriculture producers already use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Rural roads and bridges are vital for the sustainability of rural communities and municipal governments do not have the resources to fund essential infrastructure projects on their own. RMs need access to funding that is truly dedicated to rural and small communities.
Agriculture continues to be a major contributor to the provincial economy. With risk management programs being funded significantly less than they were a decade ago, despite unprecedented risks from trade barriers and drought, it is imperative that farmers be included in developing the next Agricultural Policy Framework due in 2023.
As a champion of rural Saskatchewan, SARM is committed to advocating on behalf of our rural municipalities. Saskatchewan is a resource rich province. The agriculture and oil and gas industries drive the economy, and many of our rural municipalities are home to industries that feed the world and fuel the economy.
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