CFFO: The 2019 Federal Election party platforms and issues in agriculture
By Josh Kraemer
With the federal election happening on Monday, now is an important time to review party platforms. Farmers will find that each of Canada’s leading federal parties have made promises that will affect them directly.
Here, CFFO offers a very brief overview:
The Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservatives promise to invest in rural Canada by budgeting for federal infrastructure projects in rural and remote areas, while also expanding rural broadband. Abroad, the Conservatives would challenge China’s actions against Canadian imports via the World Trade Organization. Supply management would be protected, and farmers negatively affected by trade deals would be compensated. Other promises include developing a strategy to address labour shortages in the agri-food sector, postponing Humane Transport Regulations, and cancelling Trudeau’s carbon tax.
The Green Party of Canada
The Green Party would establish climate change emission targets for all components of the food system and support the transition from industrial to regenerative agriculture. They also promise to protect supply management, but would allow for local production outside of supply managed systems. Animal welfare is a concern for the Green Party: they propose to set minimum standards for farm animal treatment, live transport distances, and conditions in slaughterhouses and auctions. Notably, the Green Party would provide fiscal incentives to other government jurisdictions to preserve farmland.
The Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberals want to help farmers facing major environmental and business risks beyond their control, such as drought. They also recognize recent challenges faced by supply managed sectors and will help to support this group. The Liberals are also working to streamline Canada’s scattered financial and advisory services, by merging them with Farm Credit Canada and increasing its capital lending capacity. This new entity, called Farm and Food Development Canada, would grow Canada’s food economy. They will also work with farmers on tax measures to facilitate farm succession.
The New Democratic Party of Canada
The NDP promises to protect supply management, compensate farmers hurt by trade deals, and protect growers who export to the United States. They would continue Trudeau’s carbon pricing system as a tool to combat climate change. The NDP promises to support people working in the sector in a number of ways: they would enhance high-speed broadband for rural communities; they would offer low-cost start-up loans for new farmers; they would cut taxation on family farm transfers; and finally, they would develop a national mental health strategy targeted at helping farmers the only party to address this challenge.
Disclaimer: This overview is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive summary of party promises. Please refer to official party platforms, available online, for full details. The CFFO does not endorse any political party.
Josh Kraemer is Research & Policy Assistant for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, and CKNX Wingham. It is also archived on the CFFO website, www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,000 family farmers across Ontario.