July 13th, 2015

NDP to be strong federal partner for producers and the ‘family farm’

As agriculture ministers from across Canada gather in PEI today, New Democrats are committing to a more productive relationship with provinces and territories. The NDP is also calling on the Conservatives to take responsibility for their failure to adequately support Canadian farmers.

“Under Stephen Harper, more than 22,000 family farms have disappeared and farm debt has nearly doubled,” said NDP Agriculture critic Malcolm Allen (Welland). “Deteriorating rail service is also having a devastating impact on grain farmers, who face unnecessary challenges getting their crop to market while Conservatives let rail companies off the hook.”

Government secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations has left many farmers concerned that their livelihood is at stake. Some are even asking whether the Conservatives are still committed to Canada’s valuable supply-management system.

“Canada’s system provides stability, we can be proud of this and the Conservatives need to be clear about their commitment to supply management,” said NDP deputy Agriculture critic, Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé). “The NDP has written the Prime Minister asking for his assurance that Canada’s TPP negotiators will protect farmers and our supply management system.”

New Democrats are also concerned by government cuts that have gutted Business Risk Management programs while making them harder to access. For starters, the Conservatives must explain how they will get drought assistance to Western Canadian farmers and livestock producers who are currently facing tremendous challenges.

The NDP understands that a farm-to-fork approach to agriculture will help ensure healthy and affordable food for Canadians, while supporting opportunities producers and farm families.