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The time for help is now

How many times does the livestock industry have to call on our federal representatives to ask for some kind of assistance for the livestock sector? We have suffered for five long years now and I just can’t see where this is fair. The automotive industry squeaks once and the government is there with cash in hand ready to bail them out. While I really don’t disagree with this because of the tremendous turmoil that it will cause if they just let them die, why hasn’t something been done to help us out.

All the government has done for us after May 2003 is strangle us with regulations and keep us from competing with our competitors from other nations. It has divided our provinces and basically crippled the cow-calf industry in Canada. The feedlots and packing houses have adjusted to make a profit but the one sector that can’t adjust is the primary producer. We can’t grow our calves any cheaper than we are right now. This year has shown that unless you have invented a cow that will eat snowballs you aren’t going to make a profit.

This crisis is a national one and our federal government just doesn’t get it. I would argue with anyone that the livestock sector affects as many people as the auto sector does. The difference is where the people being affected live. Politics is a rough game and primary livestock producers have been caught in the middle.

Supply management does very little for us in the West and for that we must suffer. WTO talks stall because of political issues and we can’t do much about it. Our federal ag minister even though he comes from the West has turned more to the eastern side of the country. We don’t want to make this an East vs. West issue but it you come and stand on our side of the fence it can’t be helped.

Now is the time when something must be done! For far too long some of the big manufactures in the east have gotten bailout after bailout and we in the West producing food have been on the outside looking in. Our provincial governments have done what they can and now it is time for the federal government to step up to the plate. If the government doesn’t want to then it might be time for an inevitable East-West split.

Leon Stang

Cactus Lake, Sask.

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