MP Column: Wishing students all the best back at school

MP Kevin Sorenson for the Bashaw area gives back to school wishes

I want to join in with everyone wishing our students in Battle River-Crowfoot all the best as they return to their studies for another year.

It is true that if you apply yourself to your studies, it will pay off. It is important not just to learn, but to learn ‘how to learn.’ Too often in daily life we get taught by the school of ‘hard knocks’ and after enough of that, most of us truly want to ‘learn’ things a different way.

As your Member of Parliament, whenever I am invited to speak at a school or a graduation ceremony, I underline for the graduates – and other students – that in my opinion, there is no better place or time to be studying and achieving than right here in Alberta. Compared to many places around the world, Albertan students are most fortunate.

One good example is, of course, our agriculture sector. This sector of our economy has served our province well over many decades. Many folks call it our primary industry. Energy, science and technology, tourism and a host of other sectors offer us many opportunities, yet, the world will always be hungry, and we’re very good at feeding them.

When the Conservative Party of Canada formed government in 2006, we put ‘farmers first.’ We set in motion a re-design of the federal government’s suite of programs used to support the agriculture industry across Canada. We worked closely with farmers, ranchers, producers and industry spokespersons and associations in all parts of the agriculture network. There was a great deal of ‘studying’ in those first months, so that we could get it right in our Growing Forward program that we eventually launched to help agricultural producers across Canada. It was successful and years later we built on that work and launched Growing Forward II.

I raise this example to show our students that hard-work studying seemingly ‘mundane’ lessons (that are not nearly as fun as Phys. Ed. class for example) really does pay off. Having put ‘farmers first’ in our political agenda our study of the industry made clear the prospects that international trade offered Canada.

Our Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz, travelled the world in those years and helped sign-up Canadian farmers to fill contracts everywhere we could. Today Canada’s agricultural exports are at record highs and include commodities that we never would have dreamed of producing were it not for taking the time to: ‘study’ the market; ‘study’ the needs of the potential international customers; ‘study’ our capabilities to produce the commodity; ‘study’ our competitors; and finally, ‘study’ how to deliver the goods.

Yes, ‘studying’ and ‘learning’ are truly lifelong processes. Many of Canada’s successes can trace back to our ability to study and learn what is best for our country. We have built one of the most prosperous nations in the world – with our comparatively small population. Today’s students are our greatest assets and greatest hope for the future. So we encourage all of our students to study ‘hard’ and ‘smart’ – we’re counting on you!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail Kevin.Sorenson.c1@parl.gc.ca.