Premier Pallister’s government passed 65 bills during the session
By Diego Flammini
Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) is pleased with how Manitoba’s spring legislative session played out with respect to agriculture.
Premier Brian Pallister closed the spring session on June 1.
Since the session started following the 2019 general election, Premier Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government passed 65 bills including the provincial budget.
Some of those bills included key campaign promises.
Seeing the government come through on those commitments is good, especially during such a challenging time, said Bill Campbell, president of KAP.
“We saw some of those issues addressed and dealt with,” he told Farms.com. “We all had to get used to virtual consultations and a lack of in-person contact, but we were still able to represent farmers when we had to.”
One key piece of legislation the government passed was Bill 71.
The Education Property Tax Reduction Act follows Premier Pallister’s promise to remove education property taxes over a 10-year period.
A property tax bill is around a 50/50 split between education and municipal services.
Therefore, if a farmer is paying $100,000 annually on property taxes, about $50,000 of that amount is for the education tax.
This is something KAP has asked of the government for a while, Campbell said.
“We as an organization have lobbied for this for a long time,” he said. “It was very satisfying to see that addressed and hopefully we begin to see cheques in the mail soon.”
Phasing out the tax will save the average homeowner around $2,000 per year.
Another positive piece of legislation for the ag sector were Bills 62 and 63.
The Animal Diseases Amendment and Petty Trespasses Amendment and Occupiers’ Liability Amendment bills provide safeguards for farmers if people unlawfully enter their properties.
“The food production systems we have in this province need to be kept safe,” Campbell said. “Farmers follow all of the protocols the regulatory bodies have implemented, and any compromise of those systems will be dealt with.”
Other bills passed didn’t relate directly to ag but will help the sector.
Commitments to infrastructure means improved roads and bridges, which are important when transporting goods, Campbell said.
KAP will continue to monitor the government’s progress and resume lobbying efforts in the fall, he added.