NDP focuses on crop insurance, AgriStability

A Saskatchewan NDP government would lower crop insurance rates and cover the cost of removing the reference margin limit from AgriStability, according to the party’s election platform.

The document, released Oct. 9, says it would spend $20 million each year to “increase AgriStability reference margins” but officials confirmed that does mean removing the reference margin limit.

The party is also promising a new version of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, startup loans for rural small business and a Rural Reconnect program to provide better quality internet and cellular service. It has already pledged more money for better health care and education.

Leader Ryan Meili said voters deserve investments to make their lives better.

“They can choose an NDP government that puts people first,” he said.

Saskatchewan Party leader Scott Moe also released his party’s platform the same day.

Aside from previous promises that would benefit all residents, such as the 10-percent cut on SaskPower bills for a year, the Sask. Party is standing on its record and not offering specific promises for agriculture.

Its document stated that Saskatchewan is the second-largest agricultural exporter in Canada, accounting for about 50,000 jobs and more than eight percent of the province’s gross domestic product.

It highlighted a previous commitment to open three trade offices in Tokyo, Singapore and New Delhi to strengthen trade relationships.

And, it signaled that the government will continue trade missions to key destinations.

The government noted that during its tenure, average crop insurance coverage has risen to $224 per acre, compared to $88 under the last NDP administration.

Premiums are down by 14 percent on average, while coverage for unseeded acres doubled to $100 per acre.

Moe said Saskatchewan has had one of the strongest economic recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The question in this election is, who do you trust to keep that recovery going?” he said during the launch.

Both parties released the cost of their platform promises and both are forecasting deficits.

While the Sask. Party has promised to be back to balanced budgets by 2024-25, the NDP said it would convene an expert panel to “plan our path back to balanced budgets.”

“A plan to make a plan is not a plan at all,” Moe said.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan has released a platform that does not mention agriculture or farming, while the Green Party hasn’t yet released a full document.

The separatist Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan’s document says it would reduce red tape for farm to fork businesses, introduce a young farmers initiative and set up a corporate tax structure for new ag startups.

Platforms can be found on the party websites, here: Saskatchewan Party platform – Saskatchewan NDP platform

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