A family run greenhouse in the Calgary area closed down for good after finishing their last harvest. The owners say that they had to shut down this Thursday because of the pressures created by Alberta New Democratic Party’s new policies regarding climate and labour.
Paul Hotchkiss, the owner of Hotchkiss Herbs and Produce, said that there is no better way for the NDP to crush small farms and small Alberta businesses.
Alberta small farm owners say that their margins are in pennies which makes it extremely difficult for them to make a profit when there are higher heating and wage costs. The problem arose when Bill 6 was implemented and increased the rate for overtime and workers’ compensation along with the new carbon tax coming in 2017.
Hotchkiss Herbs and Produce is well known in Alberta as they had been supplying to some of the best restaurants and numerous markets and grocers. Their products included tomatoes, chard, potatoes, beans, carrots, pea shoots and microgreens.
They had recently invested in equipment and machinery worth half a million dollars in hopes of expanding. Hotchkiss tried to raise concerns about the situation, but to no avail and the last business day was December 16, 2016.
The government has been making efforts by providing numerous grants to green house owners, but Hotchkiss added that green technology is not advanced enough to keep the plants alive through Canada’s winter.
According to Hotchkiss and his wife, the grants are just compensation, mere handouts which are not actually helping them with their business.
Paul Hotchkiss is one of many who have suffered through the unfair taxation of the NDP and this spring the greenhouse will be dismantled. The couple is struggling with the closing down of their life’s work and intends to continue in the agricultural sector by growing hay on their land.