This past weekend’s federal election call means Canada will go to the polls September 20.
Ongoing wildfires and drought in BC as well as public concern over COVID-19 variants have prompted criticism of the election’s timing. By law, a federal election wasn’t necessary until 2023.
The call came following a run of funding announcements targeting the agriculture sector, including a five-fold boost to AgriRecovery funding to help producers cover extraordinary costs due to drought and wildfires. Ottawa is now offering $500 million to producers, primarily in Western Canada, as well as other supports to help them weather this year’s disasters.
It has also pledged support for clean energy initiatives, announcing $200 million through the On-Farm Climate Action Fund to support the adoption of beneficial management practices that store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
But if funding is on the table, a platform from the incumbent Liberals isn’t.
While the government has made green initiatives a priority and pledged to make no further concessions on supply management as part of future trade negotiations, it has yet to release a platform indicating its priorities for a new mandate.
This is in contrast to the Conservatives, whose platform highlights the important role farmers play in domestic food security and international trade. It includes 18 bullet points related to agriculture, with supply management front and centre. Conservatives promise to complete negotiations regarding compensation for concessions under CUSMA in their first 100 days in office. They’re also promising an Agriculture and Agri-food Labour Strategy, changes to tax rules in favour of family farms and extending the “right to repair” to farm vehicles so farmers aren’t locked into service agreements.
Rules governing meat processing would also be changed to boost local processing capacity and make interprovincial meat shipments easier.
The federal NDP, under Burnaby South MP Jagmeet Singh, prioritize the social benefits of agriculture. The party’s platform calls for development of a Canadian Food Strategy, local food security, including Indigenous food sovereignty, and programs that support environmental sustainability.