Put agricultur­e high on elec­tion agenda, groups urge

The Glengarry News - - Classified­s -

Farm­ing ought to be a pri­or­ity item in can­di­dates’ plat­forms as they vie for votes in the Oc­to­ber fed­eral elec­tion, con­tends Grain Farm­ers of On­tario.

“It is time for the govern­ment to rec­og­nize not only how vi­tal agricultur­e is to Canada, but how ne­glected grain farm­ing has been when it comes to fed­eral sup­port,” says GFO chair Markus Haerle.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion wants can­di­dates to com­mit to a “trade war fund” to sup­port farm­ers in non-sup­ply man­aged sec­tors, to as­sist grain and oilseed farm­ers who are suf­fer­ing from global trade dis­putes and com­pe­ti­tion with U.S. and Cana­dian sup­ply-man­aged farm­ers, who are re­ceiv­ing govern­ment “bailouts.”

The GFO seeks the im­ple­men­ta­tion of long-term busi­ness risk man­age­ment pro­gram­ming that shields On­tario grain farm­ers from price fluc­tu­a­tions be­yond their con­trol, and the de­fence of ex­ist­ing and new mar­kets for grains and oilseeds.

The govern­ment should ag­gres­sively pur­sue new trade agree­ments and rat­ify trade agree­ments and con­tinue to elim­i­nate tariffs, the GFO ar­gues.

“Elim­i­nate the car­bon tax and im­ple­ment a clean fuels stan­dard that rec­og­nizes the con­tri­bu­tion of do­mes­ti­cally pro­duced corn ethanol and soy bio-diesel as low car­bon al­ter­na­tives,” the group sug­gests.

“The U.S. govern­ment just an­nounced an ad­di­tional $16 bil­lion in re­lief for farm­ers (in ad­di­tion to 2018’s $9 bil­lion). It’s clear that they un­der­stand that farm­ers are be­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ately pe­nal­ized for the trade wars, rel­a­tive to other in­dus­tries, and that they are tak­ing steps to look af­ter that busi­ness. We ex­pect the same recog­ni­tion and sup­port from our govern­ment. In Canada, agricultur­e is the foun­da­tion for more than 800,000 jobs, and those ca­reers need to be pro­tected,” said Mr. Haerle.

The OFA

As cam­paign­ing be­gins for the fall fed­eral elec­tion, the On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of Agricultur­e will be ad­vo­cat­ing for many of the same is­sues that the OFA talks to MPPs about.

“Ru­ral On­tario needs af­ford­able en­ergy, and well main­tained roads, bridges and drainage sys­tems that keep our in­dus­try mov­ing,” says the fed­er­a­tion. Com­mu­ni­ties also need re­li­able high-speed in­ter­net and mar­kets which “de­pend on smart reg­u­la­tions and a skilled, lo­cal work­force.”

The lobby group is en­cour­ag­ing its 38,000 farm mem­bers to talk to lo­cal can­di­dates and be sure that the im­por­tance of the agri-food sec­tor and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are on the minds of the can­di­dates elected Oc­to­ber 21.

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