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Letters to the editor – for Dec. 1, 2008

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Minister is not listening to producers

The Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy (ALMS) has the potential to absolutely destroy the cow-calf producers in this province and our minister of agriculture won’t even consider our concerns. Indeed, he has blatantly snubbed producers by implementing an agency to oversee the beef industry while refusing direct representation from those affected.

Many opinions have been offered about ALMS from “consider ways to exit the industry,” to “mandatory” to “full compliance” and on and on. Obviously our minister is not listening or has the opinion that there is really only one guiding light who is all knowing and intends to use (or abuse) the power of his office to prove it. However, under the guise of Health and Food Safety we are seeing a far more sinister presence rearing its ugly head and this is the issue we would like to address.

The job of government is to facilitate – not to run business, not to assume ownership of business, manipulate or mandate. When government uses mandatory regulations to affect the day-to-day operations of a business, to transfer the value of one sector of an industry to another without compensation, to directly determine who must “exit” an industry or to force people to sign away their rights under the Privacy Act by withholding much needed support, democracy no longer exists. If this strategy is passed it is the seed for at best, dictatorship. The only question remaining is, which sector of our society will be next?

Minister Groeneveld, since common sense doesn’t seem to hinder your approach at all, we can only wonder what the real agenda could be? Is your lack of action in regard to a potential monopoly situation being developed in the beef industry only a sign of things to come? Certainly the family farm doesn’t appear to have any significance whatsoever in your “Brave New World”.

Stephen Shwetz Woodland Ranchers Association Smoky Lake

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