Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberal MLAs are asking Manitobans to help ranchers facing eviction and insolvency from changes the Pallister PCs have made that have tripled the price of their ranchland.
For decades, Manitoba ranchers have leased "Crown lands" - often less-than-prime agricultural land - for raising cattle. Last year, the PCs announced massive changes to leases on "Crown Lands".
"The PCs changes have limited leaseholders of their ability to pass on leases, which has destroyed equity and retirement incomes, and affected producers' ability to borrow," said Jon Gerrard MLA River Heights and Liberal Agriculture Critic. "The result of the PCs policy has been very unfair because this has had the effect of driving up the price of leased land, instead of the agricultural producers having stable and competitive low costs."
As a result, ranchers have seen their lease costs triple. Some have already been rendered insolvent and others are facing insolvency and eviction if they can't pay by the end of March, 2021.
The ranchers have pooled their resources and are hiring a lawyer to take the PCs to court.
"All kinds of farmers are being affected by this. Young farmers starting out, people who have farmed for decades, and people who have just moved to Manitoba," said Lamont. "Basically, Pallister has tripled the rent and now he's going to evict people because they can't pay. We've been telling the PCs to reverse course for over a year, but if they won't listen to reason, or the people, maybe they'll listen to a judge."
"Our Premier has lost his way and is destroying the small ranchers - many of whom got him elected. All of the younger ranch families regret that they ever began ranching in Manitoba. My neighbours who are near retirement will be left with no equity after decades and generations of hard labour," said Dale Myhre, the treasurer of the Manitoba Crown Lands Leaseholders Association. "It's a form of corruption that those in power can destroy the lives of those who have put blood sweat and tears into building sustainable farms here. This government is going down, but by then it will be too late for many."
As of January 4, the ranchers had already raised $23,757.
People who want to donate to help the ranchers sue the Pallister government can send a contribution to:
Manitoba Crown Lands Leaseholders Association
Box 155 Crane River.
Or send an e-transfer to: firstname.lastname@example.org