Sunday, December 6, 2015

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier continues to battle Bill 6

Formerly famously happy, the now unhappy-face barn on Highway 2 near Cayley (in the Livingstone-Macleod riding) reflects a common farmer/rancher opinion of proposed Bill 6
Kylana Rogers-Hambling photo

Chris Davis

Livingstone-Macleod Wildrose MLA Pat Stier was busy last week, as organized opposition to the Alberta Government's proposed Bill 6 continues to grow among his constituents.  Livingstone-Macleod is a huge riding, and includes many ranchers and farmers.  According to Stier, it was an exhausting week in the legislature, "with 18 hour days, but we are doing our best to stand up for what is right for Albertans."  I watched extensive sections of three of those sessions via the legislature's live stream.  One wrapped at midnight.  Another didn't finish until around 1:00 am.

Attempts to speak with Stier about Bill 6 and other issues via telephone were thwarted by my own chaotic weekend schedule, but we did talk via email and social media.  Via email Stier said " We (the Wildrose caucus) have some strategies we are working on that includes several amendments that we will present during the committee of the whole (COW) process that forms the second stage of the debating process. While it is rare for a government to accept opposition amendments we are going to push them and try to convince them anyway."

"Despite the boring debate sessions and the filibustering tactics that is used for this process we hope everyone can understand that this is just a part of the game that we must play to convince them that they must pull this bad bill."

"In the long run, if they don't pull it, ultimately we want it to go to a standing committee for a thorough review that will include meetings throughout the province. This will delay it of course and give everyone more time to have their say."

"Overall, we believe that instead of these punitive rules and measures we think the government should instead consult with Albertans and create educational programs for typical operations on farms and ranches that all could participate in and benefit from."

"(I'm) so glad the public is part of our teamwork strategy. If they can continue to do the local groundwork throughout the province at these protest meetings it puts on the added pressure that is so important."

"We will do our part in the legislature."

During the December 2 afternoon session of the legislature Stier recited famed radio personality Paul Harvey's 1978 "So God Made a Farmer"  address to a Future Farmers of America Convention, which follows:

"On the eighth day God looked down on his planned paradise and said: I need a caretaker. So God made a farmer. God said: I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So God made a farmer. God said: I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild, somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, and come home hungry. So God made a farmer. God said: I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die then dry his eyes and say, “Maybe next year,” and I need somebody who can shape an axe handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, someone who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks, and shoe scraps and who at planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday at noon and then, in pain from tractor back, put in another 72 hours. So God made a farmer. God said: I need somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in midfield and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbour's place. So God made a farmer. God said: I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs, someone who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadowlark; it had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners, somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and rake and disk and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church, somebody who would bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what dad does. So God made a farmer." - Paul Harvey

A map of the huge Livingstone-Macleod riding from

Stier was in attendance at a Kill Bill 6 rally at the legislature on December 3, and was also at the monthly Mayors and Reeves of Southwest Alberta committee meeting in Lethbridge on December 4. A Kill Bill 6 rally was held in Lethbridge the same day.

Related link: Bill 6 hotly debated in Alberta Legislature

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