This article is the second in our series outlining the plans of the four main parties for the ag industry and rural Canada
By Diego Flammini
As the federal election is less than a month away, Farms.com is highlighting what the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green parties have in store for farmers and rural Canada should they form the next federal government.
This article focuses on Elizabeth May’s Green Party.
May released her party’s platform, “Honest. Ethical. Caring. Leadership.” during a campaign stop in Toronto, Ont. on Sept. 16. Each policy in the document is seen from a climate crisis point of view.
Here’s what a Green government could mean for Canada’s ag industry.
If elected, May’s party would try to minimize “the use of nitrogen fertilizers in crop agriculture, reducing erosion and rebuilding soils to retain carbon, and transitioning away from industrial livestock production,” the platform says.
In addition, the party would fund research and provide support for producers shifting from conventional farming methods to take organic or regenerative approaches, which includes reducing the use of pesticides. The Greens would also ban neonicitinoids.
The Greens also plan to implement rules around animal welfare.
The party wants to “set minimum standards of treatment and have a timetable for phasing out intensive factory farming and other inhumane husbandry practices,” the platform says. “It will set standards for distances live animals can be transported, and conditions for animals in slaughterhouses and auctions.”
May’s party has a plan to help new farmers enter the industry.
If elected, the Green party would invest a total of $2.5 million per year into a land and quota trust program as well farming apprenticeship programs.
The Greens also promise to protect supply management, protect farmers’ rights to save their seed, promote heritage seed banks and seed change programs. The party would reinstate the Canada Land Inventory Program to identify potential and existing farmland.
Additionally, the party commits to allowing other levels of government to preserve farmlands, and renewing the national Environmental Farm Plan Program to help farmers protect wildlife habitats and improve soil quality. The Greens would restore the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation measures to adapt to drought conditions and restructure the suite of business risk management programs.
Prime Minister R.B. Bennett established the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration in 1935 as a response to drought, farm abandonment and degrading land. The administration’s mandate was to “secure the rehabilitation of the drought and soil drifting” in the Prairies.
The Conservatives, under Prime Minister Harper in 2013, ended federal funding for the program.
A Green government wants to feed Canadians with more Canadian food.
If elected, May’s party would “set a target to replace a third of Canada’s food imports with domestic production, increasing regional food self-reliance and returning $15 billion back into our economy,” the platform says.
The Greens also have plans for rural Canada as a whole.
As part of the party’s national transportation strategy, the Greens would build light rail and electric bus connections in rural and remote communities.
The party’s vision for Canada Post includes measures for rural communities, like establishing banking services and public high-speed Internet access in post offices.
Information on what the Liberals have planned for farmers and rural Canadians can be found here.
Be sure to check Farms.com often as we will profile the Conservative and NDP platforms soon.