Gateway Gazette

Ric McIver Releases Rural Platform

A Ric McIver government will strengthen property rights, improve market access for Alberta products, expand rural broadband, and increase support for volunteer emergency service providers if elected as PC Alberta leader and Premier.

“My rural bosses continue to tell me that there is a lack of clarity regarding their property rights.” said Ric today, outside the Pahl Livestock ranch northwest of Medicine Hat. “We also need to get more input from and provide greater clarity to farmers and ranchers in the development of regional land use plans.”

Ric pledged to continue listening to his rural bosses and fix the Land Use Framework to address their concerns.

“Trust will only be restored by clear communication and precisely worded legislation that assures Albertans their investments are safe from regulatory takings,” emphasized Ric.

Ric also vowed to deal with ongoing market access issues for grain transportation and the United States’ Country Of Origin Labelling (COOL) regulation.

“These barriers to trade discriminate against Alberta ranchers,” said Ric, “and I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Canada’s beef and pork producers along with their representative agencies as together we fight these trade barriers.

“As for grain transportation, we need a short-term solution to clear the backlog of grain waiting to get to market – using stiffer penalties if necessary – and a longer-term solution to ensure this backlog doesn’t become a permanent problem,” said Ric.

Ric also spoke to the importance of access to broadband networks. He committed to deliver full local broadband to rural communities, first by providing $10 million for the installation of new towers in communities without rural broadband service, and second, by providing grants of up to $2.5 million to municipalities with a population of under 10,000 people, to invest in local rural broadband initiatives.

“Today’s communities need to be connected to the modern world, and that means strong cellular coverage and access to broadband,” said Ric.

Rural volunteers are the backbone of rural communities. In recognition of the important work of emergency service volunteers like firefighters, Ric promised to increase the provincial budget from $650,000 to $1 million. This additional funding will bring volunteer fire rescue members to the NFPA 10-1 level, ensuring appropriate equipment and mental health supports.

“We need to bring our volunteer firefighters and emergency service people home safe to their families every single day,” said Ric.

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