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Rally against Bill 6 in Grande Prairie

UPDATE: Organizers say a petition against Bill 6 will be available for signing between 7 and 9 p.m. tonight at the Five Mile Hall, east of Carriage Lane.

A group of local farmers gathered to rally against Bill 6 in Grande Prairie today while more than a thousand demonstrated outside of the Alberta legislature. Tony Van Rootselaar runs a 2,500 acre grain farm and is a councillor for the MD of Spirit River. He says his biggest issue is how quickly the legislation is being brought in.

“That is what all of the petitions are about and all the rallies are about right now; we want more time. If the NDP had taken more time, strung this out over the course of a year, and given proper consultation on this, it wouldn’t have the uproar it has right now.”

The proposed Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act would extend workplace legislation to include farms and ranches starting January 1, 2016. Van Rootselaar says while he’s not opposed to the idea, how it would affect family farms needs to be considered.

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“It doesn’t necessarily have to be scrapped all together. The province of British Columbia, they have OHS and Saskatchewan does too, but it’s basically for investigation purposes only; it’s not for enforcement. They just want to find out and prevent repeat accidents on farms.”

The first of a series of town halls drew nearly 400 people last week in Grande Prairie, and the next is set for Tuesday in Red Deer. Protesters are asking for NDP MLAs to be at the meetings to hear concerns of residents.

Bill 6 rally

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