Monday’s federal election painted much of BC blue, with the exception being coastal ridings and the southern Interior riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay.
Of the 42 ridings in the province, 17 went to the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer. Those ridings represent a predominantly rural populace. Eleven ridings voted in NDP candidates, including those on Vancouver Island (except for two that voted Green) and those along the coast from Powell River to Alaska. The remaining 11 went to the incumbent Liberals, which maintain their concentration in Metro Vancouver.
Whether or not it matters for BC farmers is another question.
On the one hand, they won’t have any representation in caucus.
Jati Sidhu, for example, who had represented the government at agriculture events in the Fraser Valley, lost the seat of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon to Conservative candidate Brad Vis. The onus will fall now on returning Delta MP Carla Qualtrough to carry the government flag to Fraser Valley farms.
However, the minority government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will face a stronger opposition as it seeks to ratify agreements such as the new free trade deal with the US and greater pressure to do something on behalf of farmers hit hard by tariffs and non-tariff barriers that have closed markets such as China. It also has ambitious plans for remaking federal farm lender Farm Credit Canada as the $5-billion financier Farm and Food Development Canada and rolling out a national food policy.
When she visited Vancouver this past summer on a pre-election tour to launch the food policy, federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau looked forward to the government continuing its work on behalf of farmers after the election.
“We want to keep doing that in November,” she told Country Life in BC, she said, noting the food policy in particular. “We see full support and we are committed to deliver what we presented in the recent weeks.”
Bibeau and global affairs minister Chrystia Freeland, whose portfolio includes international relations and trade, were both re-elected this week.