Manitoba

Farm group invites Justin Trudeau to visit weather-weakened farms in Manitoba

The head of a Manitoba agriculture lobby group has invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tour the province's farms, which have endured one of the most difficult years in terms of weather.

'We are looking for federal leadership to ensure that our operations remain sustainable'

Manitoba farmers have been hit by a lot of setbacks this year, from weather to politics, and are asking the prime minister to visit and discuss ways to move the agriculture industry "and our country" forward. (Trent Peppler/CBC )

The head of a Manitoba agriculture lobby group has invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tour the province's farms, which have endured one of their most difficult years in terms of weather.

After being hit with both drought and flooding in the same year, many farmers saw their fields covered by an early snowstorm.

And all of that is "on top of trade disputes that have threatened our bottom lines," Keystone Agricultural Producers president Bill Campbell says in a letter sent to Trudeau

"We are looking for federal leadership to ensure that our operations remain sustainable so that we can continue to be an economic driver in this country," the letter says, then goes on to mention concerns about discontent in Western Canada.

The Oct. 21 federal election returned Trudeau's Liberals to power but drew a clear line between the west and east in the country, with zero Liberal seats won in Alberta and Saskatchewan and just a handful in Manitoba and British Columbia.

That has sparked talk about Western separatism, with a group that calls itself Wexit Alberta leading the way, beginning the process to become a federal political party. 

"These discussions do not serve the best interest of our country and are not discussions Manitobans support. We do, however, have the need to hear from our federal government on the issues that we encounter every day," the letter from Campbell says.

"Regardless of the composition of the House of Commons, the federal government has the responsibility to hear all voices and make decisions in the best interests of all Canadians, not just the Canadians that voted for them."

Campbell's letter says it is imperative for collaboration beyond partisan politics to help move the agriculture industry "and our country" forward.

"My hope is that you will seriously consider my invitation so that we can discuss how your government can work with farmers like me going forward. We are all best served by working in unison, rather than in opposition," the letter says.

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