Hoback takes on international trade

Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback, right, is seen with Premier Brad Wall prior to a Conservative Party of Canada Saskatchewan Caucus meeting last week. 

Taken off the Standing Committee on Finance, Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback said that his new spot on the International Trade Committee is more his style.


“I’ve been wanting to get on the International Trade Committee for quite a while because that’s more of my background than finance,” he told the Daily Herald this week.

“Finance is good, don’t get me wrong, but international trade -- I’m a free-trader, always have been, and I just know that if we open up markets our producers just benefit greatly from it.”

The feds wanted someone on the committee with a strong agricultural background, which Hoback has. His current position as president of ParlAmericas -- an independent network of national legislatures of 35 states from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean -- might also have contributed to his selection.

Hoback said that it also makes sense that having a Saskatchewan MP on the committee, because trade is “very important” to the province.

“We’re an exporting nation, and Saskatchewan’s an exporting province – a province that’s growing because of exporting, whether it’s potash, grain, lentils, forestry products,” he said.

“We grow a lot more than we could ever consume, so getting market access, getting proper market selling mechanisms -- opening up new markets and opportunities -- is just a benefit for all of Saskatchewan.”

Hoback was appointed to the International Trade Committee in February.

Otherwise busy with his work with the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and his work as chair of the Conservative Party’s Saskatchewan caucus, trades-centred work have kept him hopping.

The current rail system backlog that has affected Saskatchewan farmers and other natural resource sectors remains at the front of his mind.

I’m a free-trader, always have been, and I just know that if we open up markets our producers just benefit greatly from it. Randy Hoback

“The impact it’s having on the lives of farmers and processors and even in the non-agriculture sectors is huge, and the impact it can have on the economy of Saskatchewan, and not only that but the economy of Western Canada, is very large,” he said.

“The product’s not getting moved, and because of that they’re not selling it and they’re getting the money.”

The financial penalties and accountability measures Premier Brad Wall has been asking of the federal government appears to be a good step in the right direction, Hoback added.

“We have to see what options are really available to us,” he concluded. “It doesn’t matter what we do at this point in time -- we’re not going to move grain in the next three weeks any faster.”

There aren’t extra locomotives in line waiting for farmers’ grain, he said, adding that at this point the challenge is making sure farmers have enough cash flow to get their spring seeds planted.

Next week, Hoback will be touring the province with Costa Rican ambassador Luis Carlos Delgado Murillo.

The tour will begin in Regina, and will continue to Saskatoon, Prince Albert and then Nipawin for some ice fishing.

“They’re always looking for different opportunities in the business sector to expand their economy, so this ambassador is a former banker so he looks for opportunity wherever he goes,” Hoback said.

“It’s more of a fact-finding tour for him and a chance for me to show off our great province.”

Organizations: International Trade Committee, Daily Herald, Saskatchewan MP Standing Committee on Agriculture Conservative Party Prince Albert

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Central and South America, Caribbean Western Canada Regina Saskatoon

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