OTTAWA– New Democrats drew attention today to the increasing difficulties rural communities are dealing with in the face of this summer’s ongoing drought. The drought is reaching crisis levels in many parts of Canada, leaving farmers anxious and looking for action from the Conservative government.
In Ontario alone, the warm and dry weather has caused one of the worst droughts in history with up to 80% of corn farmers facing significant risks, with no relief in sight. Despite some rainfall last week, many crops are already irreparable damaged. And this doesn’t only impact grain farmers, as feed shortages grow input costs will rise for many other farmers.
“This is going to have far reaching consequences – and so far the Conservatives have been completely silent” said NDP Agriculture critic, Malcolm Allen. “Farmers are worried about the potential consequences this drought will have on everything from produce to livestock feed. Instead of the government offering support, farmers are hearing rumors of more cuts to the emergency programs they rely on in difficult times like these.”
Recent reports suggest that up to $1.2 billion in federal funding for programs such as Agri-Stability are slated to be cut.Many agriculture groups across the country are extremely concerned about the implication of these cuts, especially as they suffer through this historic drought.
“The longer the drought continues, the worse the effect will be on farming regions,” said NDP Deputy Agriculture critic Ruth Ellen Brosseau. “This drought will have serious consequences and the minister must act now to develop a plan to help mitigate the impact on farmers. People are looking for help and leadership, but unfortunately the minister is simply nowhere to be found.”