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The Prince Albert Daily Herald, Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Liberals' platform includes ideas for farmers, northerners

by Joshua Pagé

The freshly released Liberal platform, labeled "Richer, Fairer, Greener," includes specific ideas for rural and Northern Saskatchewan.

Re-committing to a moratorium on closing rural mailboxes is a particular fighting point for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River Liberal candidate, David Orchard.

"I get my mail from them and the more you have to drive and drive, the more frustrating it is," said Orchard, a fourth-generation farmer.

"Mail service is supposed to be just that, mail service."

Other rural and northern-aimed initiatives include a tax credit for volunteer firefighters, money to fight the mountain pine beetle, wiping out $10,000 of a doctor's student debt for each year a physician serves in a rural or under-serviced area and creating a national strategy to address Canada's troublesome forestry industry.

Prince Albert Liberal candidate Lou Doderai stressed that his party's attention to rural Canada is what separates it from the Conservatives.

"We want to help nurture and grow smaller communities," he said.

As a way to counterbalance added taxes from the green shift, the Liberals will also pay each tax filer in rural Canada $150 per year.

As for the embattled situation between the Canadian Wheat Board and the Conservative government, a Liberal government would avoid any government intervention, placing all responsibility on elected Wheat Board officials.

"The Wheat Board belongs to the farmers, not the government," said Orchard.

The Conservatives and NDP haven't released platforms yet. The Green Party has released a small, eight-page platform outline.

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