‘We will pass this bill this fall’: Notley

Alberta premier Rachel Notley is pushing ahead with Bill 6 despite protests across the province to delay or kill the farm safety bill.

“We will pass this bill this fall, those paid wage-earning farm workers (in an accident) will receive compensation and will have the right to refuse unsafe work. Over the months to come we will engage in respectful common-sense dialogue about how to tweak the other newly applied rules in a way that respects the family farm just as it has been done in every other province in the country,” said Notley in a news conference after returning from a climate change conference in Paris.

Notley apologized for the confusion and miscommunication around the bill that has led to protests around the province.

When the bill was introduced it said Alberta’s 45,000 farms and ranches would no longer be exempt from farm safety rules, workers compensation requirements and labour standards.

With no detail of how the legislation would apply, farmers feared they would be put out of business by the legislation and uncertainty the proposed bill created.

All WP Bill 6 coverage here.

“But what was explicitly stated and what was intended, fear and miscommunication has filled the gap and I take full responsibility for that,” she said.

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The government plans to introduce amendments to the original bill clearing the confusion, she said.

Notley would not apologize for introducing the bill that she believes will save lives. According to the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, between 1990 and 2009, there were 355 agriculture related deaths. For each person who died another 25 were hospitalized.

“These deaths and injuries can be prevented, but we can not prevent them by doing nothing and we cannot prevent them through endless delay. We can not prevent their deaths if we can not investigate their causes, learn from them and where required hold people accountable for them and we cannot compensate families for those who are injured or killed in paid wage earning farm jobs unless we provide assistance to compensate them for their losses.”

Notley said the legislation was never intended to interfere with a family’s ability to teach their children about farming and pass on their way of life. Nor will it interfere with neighbours helping each other, or children participating in 4-H and other programs.

The government introduced the legislation to ensure farm workers the same rights as other workers, she said.

“What drove us was there had been this gaping hole in what is a fundamental human right in Alberta for decades and I felt personally very strongly for a very long time that we needed to move on it and to be clear I ran on it. It was part of the NDPs position for a very long time.”

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  • Harold

    What Notley has admitted to me is that her First Bill was flawed and it was the Farmers which pointed it out, and for that she takes full responsibility. Was someone in the “company” fired or is someone being sent to farming school and the bill is now dead or indefinitely on hold? What does taking responsibility look like? She now says that the Bill, once made law and costing you money, will make Albertan’s feel less compelled to put their hands into a meat grinder. She also says that there is “this gapping hole in what is a fundamental human right in Alberta for decades” Really? [ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.] Article !: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in spirit and brotherhood. (Can you feel that oozing from Notely Government?) Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Article 5: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. Article 16. 3: The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and state. Article 20. 2: No one may be compelled to belong to an association. Article 21. 3 (in part) The will of the people shall be the basis of authority of government…. (stop) By law, It is clear to me that Notley wants to force farmers into her Government trade union. Achieving your consent to this Bill is possible if Farmers do not protest or become indifferent. Thus her “education” strategy. The society of Farmers 45,000 strong, are being ignored by the Notley Government. In spite of opposition, Notley will pass this bill this fall and make no apology for her actions. No one has asked for this Bill so therefore it cannot be said that the WILL of the People were the basses of this Bill. How many of the Articles of Human Rights has her Government ignored? Yes, I agree with Notley; there is a gapping hole in Fundamental Human Rights in Alberta for decades, but I disagree that she will associated with closing it.

  • Harold

    It is reasonable to say that the farming corporation in Alberta is separate to other corporations of the province. To further say that within the 45,000 identified farms that there exists over 90,000 voters. As a Public Servant, Notley has a duty to perform the will of the people of Alberta and not those of the will of other Provinces. To stand before Albertans and declare that her opinion matters over the protests of as many as 90,000 voters, is a mockery of human rights. [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] “whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” Farmers have irrevocable rights too. For Notley to say that she will pass this bill regardless of protests, is in my opinion contempt. To admit that there has been no engagement of “respectful common sense dialog” before introducing Bill 6 is also an act of degradation to the highest aspiration of the common people. Further Notley claims that in 19 years, there has been 355 (non-specified) agricultural “related” deaths. (18.7 un-examined per year from over 90,000) Just how can she be industry area specific to create this Bill 6 and call it justifiable. Notley will not apologize for introducing (forceful enacting) a bill that will save lives. That means to me, that when she places this paper of Bill 6 on a dying man, that he should spring back to life. Notley says “we cannot prevent their deaths if we cannot investigate their causes, learn from them…..” Didn’t she just say that the Bill 6 would prevent death? Double speak? Notley says that the Bill was never intended to interfere with family life; yet it does. Moreover Notley speaks as if she were championing Human Rights. Ok Notley, lets take out that Universal Declaration of Human Rights and publicly compare its Articles. Won’t happen. She will tell you what they are. Nonetheless, Farmers now must realize from the past, that not making your voices heard has consequences. With your consent, the Government has done no wrong. In other words, If you set yourselves aside through inaction and agree to this madness, what will you complain about? You got what you allowed. This Bill 6 is nothing more than the Government forcing a contract with you, to join their “union” against your will. This Union with its subsidiary’s does nothing more than collect cash and send enforcement to your door. Can you see any other? Withdraw your consent at your MLA offices and don’t do any of their constructed surveys, if it is of your own desire, and while there is still time. All MLA can bring this concern direct to the Legislature, and the more the merrier.

  • ed

    With the suicide rate already up over 30% in Alberta due to the struggling economy, it is hard to see how premier Notley driving the suicide rate in the farm community even higher by imposing more economic hardship can be associated with her statement that Bill 6 she feels will actually save lives. Many farmers will drop employees or quit farming all together, both of which are better than suicide of coarse but still not good for the greater economy. lt will only move the suicides into the urban. None of these things operate independent of one another and loading up the struggling Worker Compensation pot on the backs of others to save some government jobs just because you can, will not happen without some or all of the above negative consequences. They need to go back to the drawing board on this one.