Wednesday, 18 January 2017 11:30

Don’t let politics overshadow farm safety

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I was disappointed to see Amy Zuk trot out the tired old canard that Bill 6 was enacted without proper consultations (Safety Buzz column, Jan. 6 Prairie Post).
The Alberta Government has engaged in near continuous consultations with all of the relevant agricultural agencies, boards, commissions and associated groups dating back more than a decade.
These extensive consultations resulted in the Alberta Farm Safety Advisory Council issuing a final report that is now being acted on by this government by again consulting and working with all of the ag abc's and the AgCoalition. This perennial lament of improper consultation is a red herring designed to pander to the political agenda of those opposed to the NDP government and is not born by the facts.
The writer asserts, “For years groups like the Farm Safety Center, 4-H, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and many others have been implementing successful programs in schools and communities to improve agriculture safety...”
However the Alberta Center for Injury Control and Research (ACICR) has recently reported that due to a stagnant number of child farm fatalities and decline in number of children on farms, the rate of child farm fatalities is increasing. They also report the risk of death or injury to farm children is almost double that of urban children.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has released statistics that indicate in 2015 children accounted for fully one-third of farm related fatalities.
To “continue to advocate for agriculture safety by working together with our schools, communities and agricultural associations to promote health and safety to our family’s future” may feel good and even be good for business, but it has been proven to be ineffective.
Bill 6 is a vital component of farm safety that is based on fact, science and the law.
This Alberta government began work on this file immediately and is making a tremendous effort to work with all stakeholders.
Eric Musekamp, Bow Island, Alta.

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