Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saskatchewan NDP 2010 Resolutions - Revitalizing Agriculture

I noted yesterday this week should make for an ideal opportunity to discuss some of the Saskatchewan NDP's convention resolutions. With that in mind, let's take a look at a higher-level resolution which looks to tie in nicely with the NDP's efforts to renew its rural support base:
AT4. WHEREAS the survival of rural Saskatchewan is directly related to the size of the resident population; and

WHEREAS increasingly, capital costs are limiting the ability of young farmers to enter the industry;

BE IT RESOLVED that the New Democratic Party develop a policy and relevant programs to stimulate the entry of a new generation of young farmers to enter the industry in a viable manner.

- Kindersley NDP
What's particularly interesting about the resolution is that if it's adopted and the associated policy developed, the result could be to expose some significant disconnects between the Sask Party government and its support base.

After all, the Sask Party went out of its way to replace the province's wheat sheaf logo on the theory that it didn't want people to focus on agriculture as a defining attribute of the province. And there's nothing in its current direction which involves direct support for rural Saskatchewan, as the theory of allowing markets to decide where people end up living seems to have outweighed any sense that the government should work to encourage rural development. Which means that rural voters who have primarily voted for the Sask Party over the past decade-plus have nothing but scorn to show for their support.

Of course, it's true enough that a viable Saskatchewan economy has to include more than agriculture - and the NDP will undoubtedly address that in its other policy ideas. But it's likely equally true that rural Saskatchewan needs a broader and more sound agricultural base in order to sustain itself. And absent some action from a new provincial government, there's no end to the cycle of corporate consolidation in sight.

Which means that the NDP would seem to have an obvious opening to challenge the Sask Party's lack of interest in taking responsibility for the development of rural Saskatchewan. And the Kindersley NDP's resolution may offer an ideal way to frame that effort so as to appeal to voters who don't want to see their communities erode.

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