Disaster For Farmers - Inconvenience For Government

Regina - June 22, 1999
By: Stu Innes


Canadian government has no money for Agri disaster relief

Of course the Federal government has sent Mr. Vanclief out here to tell us prairie folk that the Canadian government has no money for Agri disaster relief. This would be the same government that has no money to fight the global farm subsidy wars on behalf of the farmer and the same government that had no money to maintain the Crow Rate agreement. Mr. Vanclief expressed great empathy for farmers who were unable to seed. He conceded that it was very wet in parts of the province.
  The city slickers who elected our currently "lip locked" Ralph Goodale have been spared the whole story of "wet" by our concerned MP.
  Some places are to wet to seed. That is a disaster by itself.

damaged or no crop with increased operation costs

The real news is that a significant number of farmers who did mud a few acres into the ground found that their emerging crops were subsequently flooded out between 30% to 75%. These same crops are polluted with weeds and the fields are too wet to spray so any yield which might have been forthcoming will be reduced even further. The fields which cannot be seeded are also full of weeds and need to be attended to. Regrettably diesel fuel is $2 a gallon nowadays thanks to government tax, and chemicals which might be used to deal with heavy weed growth will be over $8 dollars per acre and need to be applied twice almost for certain.

Flooded zone shown in the South East

  So farmers see this as a disaster compared with a different kind of business. If a restaurateur cannot serve food they layoff the staff and don't buy supplies cutting expenses. If Saskatchewan Power could not provide power to it's customers it would layoff staff and have no need to maintain the system. Farmers expenses are actually increasing due to not being able to seed because they incurred the expense of preparing to seed or actually to have partly seeded as well as the expense of maintaining land which must summer-fallowed for this crop year.

significant number of farmers have no money in NISA

The Federal government's answer to this. Take your money out of NISA. Don't be fooled! NISA money is already the farmers money and a significant number of farmers have no money in NISA having already spent every nickel on regular farm expenses.

AIDA is a revenue rescue plan, not disaster relief

The AIDA plan was never intended as flood relief was it? Mr. Vanclief has said AIDA will be improved a bit to speed up help for farmers. According to the plans creators "AIDA is a two-year national program designed to provide funding for Canadian agricultural producers to cushion extreme income reductions beyond their control." This means that AIDA is a revenue rescue plan, not disaster relief and certainly not a fix-all / end-all.
  The Federal government suddenly thinks (because it is convenient) that they should not be obliged to provide disaster relief because they are spending a bit of money on something entirely different.
  An agricultural disaster is a disaster for farmers. An agricultural disaster is an inconvenience for this Federal government.

Stu Innes of Regina - sinnes@net1fx.com
The map used on this page was borrowed from Saskatchewan Tourism and modified to show affected area.