This past year, Alberta's agriculture industry saw a number of legislation changes from the new UCP Government elected in April.
Looking back on 2019, Livingstone Macleod MLA, Roger Reid, says he's very proud of both the changes to trespassing laws to protect farmers and ranchers from protesters and the new Farm Freedom and Safety Act.
The new farm safety legislation to replace the NDP's Bill 6 was passed Wednesday, December 4 and includes an exemption for small farm employers, takes away ranch and farm workers' ability to form a union, and allows larger employers to choose between coverage through Worker's Compensation Board (WCB) or private insurance for their workers.
Reid says Agriculture Minister, Devin Dreeshen, spent a lot of time on the road this summer conducting consultations to find a "sweet spot" between respecting the realities and culture of the ag industry while ensuring access to enhanced farm safety.
"I think some of the things we heard about this Fall with harvest is a perfect example of that. Under the old regime, it would have been really hard for the neighbours to pop over with their combines and help get the harvest off the field when the snow came off."
Reid says he's also very excited about changes to the trespassing laws around the agriculture industry, adding he's proud the legislation stemmed from the Livingstone-Macleod riding in a way.
RCMP were called to a Hutterite Colony just North of Fort Macleod during the September Labour Day long weekend to deal with activists protesting commercial turkey production.
About one month later, Premier Jason Kenney announced new legislation to protect producers from protesters, saying he believes in freedom of speech, but was stern "anti-farming militants" have no right to enter the private premise of farms to harass producers and create a bio-hazard risk to the animals.
"We really believe we'll see more aggressive protests against Alberta's agriculture industry," Reid said. "So to set the framework up that really realizes that we need to protect that industry."
Reid says rural crime will also continue to be an issue in the upcoming year, but he's glad his Government's taking a more holistic approach.
He says they've increased the number of RCMP officers and members available throughout rural Alberta, but have also implemented changes to enhance the enforcement ability of existing officers.
"I think it's fantastic, especially when we're looking at the large geographies that we have to cover down here in Southern Alberta."Click here to see more...