June 22nd, 2024

Ag minister Horner pushing forward with irrigation portfolio

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 26, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Earlier this month Alberta Premier Danielle Smith sent a mandate letter to Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner with a list of commitments to support Albertans.

Minister Horner said the letter was a continuation of a lot of good things they have been working on but also provided a clear mandate and direction around pursuing more irrigation across the province.

The letter reads in part “Under your leadership as Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, I expect you to work closely with your Cabinet and caucus colleagues and the public service through the committee, Cabinet, and legislative processes to deliver on commitments to support Albertans.”

“The number one directive was around ensuring that Alberta is competitive in agri-food manufacturing and then create the tools to ensure that we are,” said Horner.

He said another point included continuing to deal with interprovincial barriers with the movement of meat products.

“I think the highlight is on continuing to attract investments, making sure we’re competitive and pursuing irrigation,” said Horner.

He said they have been working on the competitiveness case.

“We wanted to first do the work and make sure that there was a competitive gap for the province, and then now that we’ve done that work we can build a tool,” said Horner.

He said when it comes to irrigation they were already looking elsewhere in the province and have some feasibility studies ongoing.

“We continue with the short term and long term view, but I guess we have an election coming up in the spring, but I would hope to have some of this accomplished and make sure it’s visible in the upcoming budget in March,” said Horner.

He said over the next month irrigation will see some visible changes but that will not be the case for the competitiveness manufacturing side of things, as they will see changes throughout the winter or closer to budget in March.

“It’s a big policy shift if we do go that direction, so it will take all the Treasury Board in the Premier’s office,” said Horner.

He said the mandate letter is the next chapter of what they have been doing already.

“We had a highlighted sector strategy around agri-food investment. We wanted to attract $1.4 billion in this first term and an investment of 2000 jobs and I am very proud of the work we did. We did that within three years of a four-year mandate,” said Horner.

He said even though they accomplished their mandate, there is a lot more potential and he believes that is why the new Premier wants them to double their efforts and forge ahead to make sure Alberta is as competitive as it can be and lands more than its fair share of deals.

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