Saskatchewan Opposition wants more support for farmers after wildfires
REGINA - The NDP Opposition wants the Saskatchewan government to provide more support for farmers who suffered losses in wildfires last month.
Agriculture critic Carla Beck says the province could use part of a $90-million surplus that resulted from lower crop insurance claims this year.
Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says the province has provided substantial help already and agri-stability money also is available to those who are enrolled.
He says the government has helped with carcass disposal and veterinary services, and has put $100,000 into a stock growers relief fund.
He says the province does not cover insurable losses and most of the losses were insurable.
Grass fires that swept through western Saskatchewan in October destroyed pasture land and were responsible for the deaths of more than 700 cattle.
"What has been provided for producers to this point is simply inadequate," Beck said during question period Wednesday.
"We have producers who are looking to replace their herds, who are wondering how they're going to come up with the dollars to feed their cattle over the winter and to find pasture land to graze these cattle on."
"While in our hearts we might like to stroke a big cheque from public funds to help these people, some of whom are actually hurting ... our programs to not cover insurable assets," Steward replied.
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan has also called on the provincial and federal governments to help farmers affected by the fires.