Ottawa, December 17th – The following is a statement from CFA President Mary Robinson on the recently released mandate letter for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau.
“The CFA is pleased to see the contents of the Agriculture and Agri-Food mandate letter. It has been an especially tough year for Canadian agriculture due to obstacles such as erratic weather, trade disputes and politically-motivated product bans. The mandate letter shows the government has been listening and looks to provide the sector with the capacity to surmount these obstacles in the future.”
“CFA was especially pleased to see explicit mention of developing methods to provide faster short-term support for farmers who are affected by trade disputes, something that the CFA has been pressing for since the summer. A review of Business Risk Management (BRM) programming is also mentioned, with a special focus on Agri-Stability. However, CFA is worried that the Liberal platform commitment of considering enhanced BRM support was not mentioned, and we are concerned with the limitations that cost neutrality imposes on any review of BRM programming.”
“CFA was also pleased to see that the Canada Water Agency would be developed. CFA, along with fellow stakeholders in both the agriculture and environment sectors, believe that new funding is needed to support a dedicated national program to reliably monitor the occurrence of pesticides in water and generate the data needed for the Pest Management Regulatory Agency assessments. We hope that the new Canada Water Agency will be mandated to carry out the monitoring to generate this much needed data.”
“CFA was disappointed that the letter did not expand the National Food Policy further, to be more holistic and truly reflect a whole-of-government approach. Any National Food Policy will require the coordination of multiple government departments to be effective, as food touches so many aspects of the daily life of Canadians, and we are disappointed to see the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food as the sole Minister with a mandate specific to the Food Policy.”
“Overall we at CFA believe this mandate sets the department on the right track. We will work diligently with government to ensure that farmers are at the table and that these policies meet their needs.”