The Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, after reviewing the Farmland Ownership online survey, feels that the survey could possibly sell out all of Saskatchewan’s farm land.
“The survey has the capability to allow non-Saskatchewan input that could cause the Sask Party government to change all the rules and allow unlimited corporate and foreign investment” said Party Leader Rick Swenson. “The very first question includes the choice ‘Resident of a country outside of Canada.’ Does this mean that any person in the world can complete the survey? Doesn’t this mean any foreign investor in the world with his eye on Saskatchewan farm land can fill in the survey in favor of foreign investment?” added Swenson. He went on to say, “You don’t even have to identify yourself if you don’t wish to. How will they limit the survey to one person, one response?”
“There are misleading questions such as the question which asks if foreign investment would be OK if there were caps on the amount of land. There is no mention of the amount of the cap” said Swenson. “The Sask Party government could decide that cap is 20 acres or 20,000 acres! Also, the question which asks about allowing foreign investment through Canadian residents looks like the government is trying to create more loopholes for Canadian investors who are not farmers.”
“In addition to the problems with the survey itself, the release of it during seeding season means it will be more difficult for farmers to have their say about our land resource as the Ag Minister has indicated this survey will be short-term in nature. Who wants to sit at a computer after spending 12 or 16 hours in a tractor trying to make a living while the weather cooperates?”
“The survey should be suspended until after seeding and other issues are fixed. The government needs to act like a responsible government and admit when they are wrong. They need to either limit the survey to Saskatchewan residents or abandon it altogether. They also need to conduct public meetings and actually meet the people of Saskatchewan and hear what they have to say. Now that the Legislature is not in session and MLAs have returned to their constituencies, it's time for them to earn their salary by talking to people face-to-face.” Swenson concluded by saying “This is a Saskatchewan resource and its future should be determined by Saskatchewan people.”