Erin Gowriluk, Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada – Fall/Winter (December) Pulse Beat 2021
At first glance, the political landscape in Ottawa, post-election, does not appear much different than it did a few months ago. Yet, a renewed Liberal minority government may operate differently this time around. This is largely due to the fact that it was clear no one wanted a pandemic election this summer, and it is hard to see a scenario where there would be much public appetite for another one in the near future. Combined with the reality that the political parties will need to restock their campaign war chests, it is tough to think the governing Liberals will have trouble finding support from one of the other opposition parties to move forward with their agenda.
What does this mean for farmers, though? It means that environmental policy will remain the focus for agriculture under this government. We need to continue to grapple with ensuring that MPs, Ministers and bureaucrats better understand the impacts of certain policy proposals in this space. Additionally, it means we will need to continue to engage with all political parties to ensure that our sector’s priorities cannot be ignored.
During the lead-up to the federal election campaign, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) actively engaged with all of the main political parties to stress the core areas of agricultural policy that we wanted to see included in their respective election platforms. Our areas of focus included:
- Increased funding towards more effective risk-management programs
- Investing in agricultural research to better position grain growers for the future
- Refocus regulation to enable innovation and increase Canada’s competitiveness
- Modernize the Canada Grain Act to reduce costs, maintain protection, and return excess service fees to farmers
- Break down trade barriers and aggressively defend Canada’s exporters
- A Made-in-Canada approach to environmental policy that recognizes and rewards farmers for being part of the climate change solution
While all the party platforms lacked any real emphasis on agriculture, we will continue to focus on driving the needs of our sector forward. This starts in earnest as soon as the Prime Minister announces his cabinet, and Parliament returns this fall. While many questions remain as to whether we can expect in-person meetings during the remainder of this calendar year, at the time you are reading this, GGC hopes to have already held a slate of in-person meetings in mid-November with key MPs and Ministers. We are also hoping to engage in a larger lobby week in February 2022.
To be frank, it is an uphill battle. However, we will continue to raise issues that matter to Canadian farmers to all parties in Ottawa. After a difficult growing season for many producers, rising input costs and a volatile trade environment, it is more important than ever that we loudly stand up for the needs of Canada’s grain growers — and that’s just what we are going to do.