An update on the Bovine Tuberculosis Outbreak

November 21, 2016

By now you have probably heard about the outbreak of Bovine Tuberculosis (TB), causing concerns for many. This is cause of great concern to me, and I have been fighting to get answers from the government on what sort of relief can be expected in the short term.

I have now asked 3 questions of the government on this issue in the House of Commons. I also had the opportunity to question our ranchers on how the crisis is affecting them at a special meeting of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee. I have spoken to the Ministers of Agriculture and Health, and have written them letters seeking further clarity.

Unfortunately, the government, as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are staying tight lipped. I have been told to simply refer concerned parties to the CFIA website for updates.

What I have made clear in my questions asked in the Commons, and in my written correspondence as well as face-to-face conversations with the Ministers, is that simply referring people to a government website is not good enough. It’s not good enough that our hard-working farmers and ranchers are being left in the dark, and that the government doesn’t have any further answers to offer.

I have asked about compensation for those farm and ranch families that will be stuck with cattle they had no intention of keeping over the winter. As I have stressed, these families get 1 payday a year, before the winter months descend upon our region. These families will need to pay for special feed, they will need to pay for extra lodging for this cattle over the winter months. This could cost farmers and ranchers tens of thousands of dollars, all because they are under CFIA quarantine.

Some ranchers must foot the bill for months, for animals that are designated by CFIA to be euthanized, with no opportunity to recover money from cattle that would have been sold.

As your representative in Ottawa, I will continue to fight for answers for all affected by the Bovine TB crisis.

On another note, Bill S-223, a much-maligned law sponsored by now retired Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette on fireams, was dropped from the Senate order paper. This means that it is no longer on the agenda.

Thank you, and for any questions or comments I can be reached in Brooks at 403-793-6775 or 1-844-241-0020 or martin.shields.c1@parl.gc.ca; in Strathmore at 403-361-2980 or martin.shields.c2@parl.gc.ca; in Ottawa at 613-992-0761 or martin.shields@parl.gc.ca