Election ’21: Conservative Don Mazier from Manitoba says governments must re-examine the AgriRecovery program
Rookie MPs elected in the fall of 2019 barely got their parliamentary feet wet before COVID-19 struck.
Dan Mazier, the Conservative representative for the Manitoba riding of Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, is one of them. The former president of Keystone Agricultural Producers made the leap to federal politics two years ago and was able to speak in the House of Commons before proceedings moved largely online.
“I got to experience the beginning of being an MP,” he said.
Mazier returned to Ottawa to participate in person a few times since then but hopes the full experience of representing his constituents is still to come.
The Sept. 20 election is not likely to change that plan if previous results are an indication. The riding that encompasses 3.5 million of Manitoba’s 10 million seeded acres has elected Conservatives for decades.
Mazier took 64 percent of the vote in 2019. Running against him this time are Liberal Kevin Carlson, Maverick candidate Lori Falloon-Austin, Arthur Holroyd for the NDP, Shirley Lambrecht for the Green Party, and People’s Party candidate Donnan McKenna.
The Conservative agricultural platform is solid and should appeal to rural Manitoba voters, he said.
Leader Erin O’Toole gave the entire caucus an opportunity to provide input and Mazier said he was happy to see some of his recommendations in it.
After this year’s drought, he said, governments have to re-examine AgriRecovery with regard to livestock. He said triggering the program should not require a large affected area.
“You’ve got living animals sitting there,” he said. “They have no water. They have no feed. There’s people making difficult decisions in stressful times.”
Mazier said promises of assistance in situations like this should be acted upon immediately in the best interests of animal welfare and producers’ mental health.
The Conservative platform says AgriInvest and other parts of the business risk management suite should be re-examined as well. Mazier said they need to be updated to better interact with today’s modern farms.
The party also reiterates its support for supply managed sectors when it comes to loss of market access in trade agreements and Mazier said he doesn’t agree with those who pit supply management against other agricultural sectors.
“I remind our team quite a bit (that) it’s the whole agriculture industry. It’s not one or the other.”
As the campaign winds to a close, polls indicate a close race. The Conservative hold on the Prairies appears safe. Mazier said that’s because voters recognize the party is the only alternative to the others.
“I can’t remember the other parties this far left,” he said, referring to policy similarities.
At dissolution, the Conservatives held seven seats in Manitoba, to the Liberal’s four and the NDP’s three, for the most diverse representation among prairie provinces.