The next Canadian federal election takes place on Monday, September 20.
The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) has also published a list of election priorities for Canadian pork producers, and the Canadian Meat Council (CMC) has published a list of election priorities for Canadian meat packers.
On Thursday, September 9, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) hosted a live debate for the agriculture leaders of some parties:
Consider some of the platform points and comments below, relevant to our producers. Information is presented in alphabetic order by party name.
A Conservative government will…
- Work with provinces, industry and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to develop a national strategy to deal with a possible outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).
- Open new markets for our livestock, grain and oilseed producers in free trade negotiations.
- Study the imposition of a carbon border tariff which would reflect the amount of carbon emissions attributed to goods imported into Canada.
- Develop a long-term strategy to attract skilled workers to the meat processing sector, which is currently facing a 30,000-worker deficit that is putting Canada’s supply chains at risk and harming our long-term competitiveness.
- Recognize the need for international farm workers and facilitate their timely entrance into Canada to work on Canadian farms.
- Make permanent the temporary measures that allowed provincial authorities to enable collaboration across provinces to use their provincial abattoirs for products that would move across provincial borders.
- Ensure that the sale of a family farm to a family member is not taxed at a higher rate than a sale to a stranger.
- Work with the provinces to adopt a grocery supply code to deal with retailers’ abusive pricing and contracting practices against farmers and processors.
Quotes from Dave Epp, Conservative candidate for Chatham-Kent-Leamington (Ontario):
- “For the technology our farmers have adopted... none of those innovative environmental responses to the challenges they faced were done in the context of a rising carbon tax… The industry will respond far better to incentives than to the stick… The top-down approach doesn’t work; we need further collaboration with our industry groups.”
- “Trespassing may be illegal, but it has not stopped incidents from occurring… The mental health of farmers, and the biosecurity of our industry – African Swine Fever [ASF] and a whole host of avian diseases – can be spread by this kind of activity. Protesting is a fundamental Canadian right; trespassing and disruption of farming activities is not, and it needs to be criminalized.”
- “Canada needs to take a much stronger international stand on matters such as this [trade disputes]. I recognize that we are a smaller country in a smaller trading bloc, but we have allies. We need to link arm-in-arm on some of these issues, and I understand delicate balances, but we can stand on principle.”
- “Too much of our product is exported in a raw state. We need far more collaboration amongst government, industry and our provinces to add more value here at home.”
- “There are several challenges here. Labour is certainly one of them. Labour at the farm level, but at the grocery level, they are having a very hard time. The meat-cutting sector as well.”
- “We need far more labourers coming in. It’s always Canadians first – the [Temporary Foreign Worker] Program is set up for that – but we need to attract more people into this country, both at the field level and at the meat processing level.”
A Liberal government will…
- Work with farmers to update business risk management agriculture programs to fully integrate climate risk management, environmental practices and climate readiness.
- Develop a sector-specific agricultural labour strategy with employers and unions to address persistent labour shortages.
- Streamline the application process for Canadian companies hiring Temporary Foreign Workers to fill labour shortages that cannot be filled by Canadian workers.
- Reform economic immigration programs to expand pathways to permanent residency for Temporary Foreign Workers.
- Triple funding for clean technology on farms, including for renewable energy, precision agriculture and energy efficiency.
- Increase support to farmers to develop and adopt agricultural management practices to reduce emissions, store carbon in healthy soil and enhance resiliency.
- Create a special fund to help build a circular food economy in Canada where no food is wasted, from farm to table. The fund will help the food supply chain commercialize and adopt ways to eliminate, reduce or re-purpose food waste.
- Introduce new restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverages to children and establish new front-of-package labelling to promote healthy food choices.
Quotes from Marie-Claude Bibeau, Liberal candidate for Compton-Stanstead (Quebec):
- “We have put $400 million more on the table for AgriRecovery, so we are doing things the right way, and we are doing this in a very collaborative manner.”
- “Labour shortage is definitely a very big issue right now, and we do have a full strategy to face it... First, around the Temporary Foreign Worker Program… to recognize the trusted partners and trust employers. Most of our farmers are very good employers, and we want to make it easier and more predictable for them to hire workers. We want to reduce red tape.”
- “As far as environmental supports are concerned… we are already highly engaged, and we are going to go further. There is over $200 million that has been earmarked as direct incentive to encourage our producers to adopt good practices… We’re going to triple the fund on green technology to half a billion dollars to help producers have the means to pay for that technology to dry their grain and heat their facilities.”
- “Trespassing on farms is already illegal. The enforcement is the responsibility of the police. The CFIA [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] is there with their inspectors – their scientists and vets – and what we can ask them is to follow up on biosecurity.”
- “The Liberal Party supports the intergenerational transfer of farms. It was part of my mandate as minister to facilitate these intergenerational transfers of farms. Unfortunately, the way the legislation was put forward, was incomplete. That’s why we didn’t support it.”
- “We are making it [research] more important with additional financing of $185 million, bringing our scientists into the field with our farmers to be sure that it really applies to their priorities… Just think about the supercluster for protein.”
A New Democratic government will…
- Work to connect Canadians to farmers with initiatives like local food hubs, community-supported agriculture and networks to increase the amount of food that is sold, processed and consumed in local and regional markets.
- Work with the agricultural sector to access low carbon tools and technology, and adapt to climate-induced weather changes and other impacts of the climate crisis, including the associated increase in pests and invasive species.
- Require large-scale emissions-reduction building retrofits in all sectors in Canada by 2050, beginning with upgrades to all buildings built before 2020 in the next 20 years.
- Amend the National Building Code to ensure that, by 2025, every new building built in Canada is net-zero for carbon emissions.
- Implement a Canadian food strategy that will take a whole-government approach to address regional needs and priorities by investing in our agricultural communities, supporting young and new farmers.
- Develop a national food waste strategy to reduce the huge amounts of food that currently go to waste in Canada.
- Partner with farmers and communities to support biodiversity.
- Declare high-speed internet an essential service and make sure that every Canadian has access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband by 2025
Quotes from Alistair MacGregor, New Democratic candidate for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford (B.C.):
- “I think it’s important, where no alternatives exist, that farms be given exemptions from carbon pricing… We heard quite clearly and plainly that there are no commercially viable options to drying grain with propane and natural gas.”
- “In many cases, we have put all of our eggs in one basket. In the future, if processing facilities are threatened or shut down, suddenly, many of our primary producers are left on the hook with tremendous backlogs. The way we have to counteract this threat is we have to make sure processing capacity is expanded and diversified.”
- “Protestors can inadvertently bring it [disease] in, but it can also happen from farm employees. If biosecurity is the concern, we have to make sure it applies equally to everyone when they come into contact with animals.”
- “In would like to see more dedicated public research [in agriculture]. I would like to see the federal government commit more to this, so that the benefits of that research can be realized by all farmers. When you speak to those who are engaged in private research, often, the biggest barriers to them are the up-front capital costs.”
- “When it comes to our trade infrastructure – our rail and ports – we need to find efficiencies in how our ships are arriving, because of bottlenecks. We need to find a way where ships are arriving for just-in-time loading.”
- “We have to ask ourselves as a country: how many more future tax dollars are we prepared to spend to mitigate against the effects of climate change before we understand that the smart money is to make those critical investments now?”
In addition to the parties and platforms listed above, visit the websites of the other parties (in alphabetic order) fielding candidates in the constituencies where Alberta’s commercial hog farmers are most highly concentrated: Christian Heritage Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Libertarian Party of Canada, Maverick Party of Canada and People’s Party of Canada.