By Jeff Bole, Policy Intern, Alberta Canola
Have you ever felt nervous to begin a new job? Not sure exactly what the job entails or what will be expected of you? How long will it take me to get up to speed on industry issues? Have my studies prepared me for this opportunity? These are some of the things that ran through my mind as I made the move to Edmonton to begin working as the Policy Intern for Alberta Canola.
These nerves that I had felt were quickly pushed aside — there was no time for them! It was just my second day on the job and we were heading to the Legislature to discuss issues facing the Canola industry. On January 15th, Renn Breitkreuz, Chair of Alberta Canola’s Board of Directors, Karla Bergstrom, Manager of Government and Industry Affairs, and I met with Mr. Ray Gilmour the Deputy Minister of Executive Council – Intergovernmental Relations.
The meeting was requested to provide the Government of Alberta with some insight into our organization, our priorities, and to get our views on the industry in the province. The topics discussed were:
- Transportation – impact that increasing oil by rail could have on grain movement.
- Sound Science – impact that PMRA’s proposed neonicotinoid ban could have on crop production and our competitiveness.
- Trade – market access is a top priority for trade-exposed industries – over 90% of canola is exported.
- Carbon Tax – farmers need to be recognized for making continuous improvements in their farming practices that sequester carbon and mitigate GHG emissions by exempting all energy sources used on farms from the carbon tax.
- Biofuels – expanding the Renewable Fuel Standard from 2 to 5% using clean canola-based biodiesel is equivalent to taking 1 million cars off the road.
- Right to Repair – farmers must be able to fix their equipment when problems arise.
- Seed Value Creation Models – more consultation about the proposed models is needed.
This was quite the introduction to start my job. Prior to this experience, my exposure to the agriculture industry has been minimal to say the least. Although I didn’t fully understand many of the topics raised at the time, it served as a launchpad to dive into policy areas that are currently at the forefront of agriculture and canola industry.
As an undergraduate student, I don’t often get the chance to sit in on important meetings like this. It was an amazing experience and I have a new appreciation for the policy development and advocacy work that goes on behind the scenes to support farmers and the agriculture industry. I hope to be a part of something like this again.
Alberta Canola Connects is your window into the activities of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission as we work both locally and globally to help contribute to the long term success of canola farmers in Alberta.