For immediate release
Date: June 30, 2010
Goodale Calls for Clarity on Federal Flood Response
REGINA – Following a day-long tour of flood-affected areas facilitated by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), Wascana MP Ralph Goodale called on the Federal Government to immediately give Western Grain Producers basic reassurance with respect to the assistance they can expect from their governments.
“After talking with APAS, farmers and community Leaders in the soggy fields themselves, I’m more convinced than ever that the federal government needs to immediately ease the stress felt by Saskatchewan families reeling from the worst spring seeding season in our history,” said Mr. Goodale. “I call on Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to let farmers know right away what help is coming, when it’s coming and how much they can expect.”
Mr. Goodale also expressed concern that governments may be relying too heavily on existing programs to handle the crisis.
“This extraordinary crisis calls for extraordinary action,” he said. “With 85% of Prairie farmland afflicted with a record wet period up to 300% higher than normal, governments can’t rely on existing programs alone to fix this mess.”
The tour, which included areas around Drake, Leroy and Wadena, including the rural municipalities of Leroy, Prairie Rose and Lakeview, was intended to show support for communities left wondering what help they can expect from their governments. Though the Provincial and Municipal governments have been doing everything they can from the outset, the federal response has been slow and so far much too vague.
“I thank APAS General Manager Nial Kuyek and his staff for accompanying me on this tour and for allowing me to see the devastation firsthand,” said Mr. Goodale. “I assured Nial and the other community Leaders I met today that the Liberal Caucus is committed to pressuring the government for a quick, generous response to this crisis.”
Though the Province has shown a willingness to cooperate with Ottawa on the matter of assistance, the Conservative government has yet to provide a firm commitment. In fact, in response to a direct question by Senator Peterson of Saskatchewan yesterday, the Government Leader in the Senate, Marjory LeBreton, would only say that a crisis like this one “takes some time to assess.”
“Reports and studies don’t mean much to the Reeves, farmers and families I met today,” concluded Mr. Goodale. “It’s time for clarity, not more delay. With Federal and Provincial Agriculture Ministers meeting next week in Saskatoon, some definite answers need to be forthcoming.”
Office of the Hon. Ralph Goodale, M.P.