Un­of­fi­cial plebiscite re­sults favour re­fund­able ser­vice charge

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Agriculture - COUR­TESY AL­BERTA BEEF PRO­DUCERS

The un­of­fi­cial plebiscite re­sults on the ques­tion of the Al­berta Beef Pro­ducers (ABP) ser­vice charge model have been re­leased by Al­berta Agri­cul­tural Prod­ucts Mar­ket­ing Coun­cil (Mar­ket­ing Coun­cil). There were 1874 votes counted that were cast by pro­ducers be­tween Oc­to­ber 19 and Novem­ber 27, 2018 with 962 votes (51.3%) in favour of a re­fund­able ser­vice charge model and 908 votes (48.5%) in favour of a non-re­fund­able ser­vice charge model. Four bal­lots (0.2%) were spoiled.

“We would have liked to see more pro­ducers vote in the plebiscite, but we ap­pre­ci­ate the in­ter­est and ef­fort of those who did vote. In a democ­racy, de­ci­sions are made by the peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate and as we’ve said all along, Al­berta Beef Pro­ducers will hon­our the de­ci­sion made by pro­ducers and the ser­vice charge will re­main re­fund­able,” said Char­lie Christie, ABP Chair.

In the years the ser­vice charge has been re­fund­able, ABP has re­ceived many res­o­lu­tions from pro­ducers at fall meet­ings and ABP del­e­gates at gen­eral meet­ings sup­port­ing a non-re­fund­able ser­vice charge. As a re­sult, ABP and the Al­berta Cat­tle Feed­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (ACFA) sup­ported a non-re­fund­able ser­vice charge when we made the re­quest for the plebiscite. As the re­sults in­di­cate, pro­ducers favour a re­fund­able fund­ing model and will con­tinue to pay ser­vice charge, but re­tain the abil­ity to re­quest a re­fund fol­low­ing the process out­lined in the ABP reg­u­la­tions.

“I want to thank ev­ery­one who came to meet­ings, par­tic­i­pated in the check­off de­bate and voted in the plebiscite. While we wish the re­sults were in favour of a non-re­fund­able ser­vice charge and would have liked to see a higher voter turnout, ACFA re­spects the de­ci­sion of pro­ducers that voted. We will con­tinue to work hard to strengthen in­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tion and cre­ate ef­fi­cien­cies re­gard­less of the out­come,” said Ryan Kasko, ACFA Chair.

ABP urged the gov­ern­ment in 2009 to con­duct a plebiscite of pro­ducers be­fore the ser­vice charge was made re­fund­able and pro­ducers fi­nally had the op­por­tu­nity to make the de­ci­sion this year. ABP thanks MNP for their dili­gent work as the Re­turn­ing Of­fi­cer on the plebiscite, as well as Mar­ket­ing Coun­cil, Al­berta Agri­cul­ture and Forestry and the Agri­cul­ture Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Cor­po­ra­tion for all their work

“I would like to thank the Al­berta Beef Pro­ducers del­e­gates for their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to the in­dus­try dur­ing the plebiscite process. I would also like to thank Agri­cul­ture and Forestry Min­is­ter Oneil Car­lier for al­low­ing pro­ducers to make this de­ci­sion,” said Christie.

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