This article is the third in our series outlining the plans of the four main parties for the ag industry and rural Canada
By Diego Flammini
With a little over two weeks until the Canadian federal election, Farms.com is highlighting what the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green parties have planned for farmers and rural Canadians should each party form the next federal government.
This article focuses on Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party.
Singh introduced his party’s platform, “A New Deal for People” during a campaign stop in Hamilton, Ont. on June 16. The NDP were the first party to release their vision for Canada.
Here’s what an NDP government could mean for the ag industry.
The NDP platform has a separate section for the industry titled “Supporting a Thriving Agriculture Sector.”
An NDP government has a vision for new producers, as well as established farm families.
A Singh-led federal government would collaborate with the provinces to improve training opportunities for new producers and provide “low-cost start-up loans for new farmers. And we’ll provide support for succession planning and end the unfair tax treatment of family farm transfers…”
The NDP promise to protect Canadian ag interests in trade deals.
The party commits to protecting supply management, compensating farmers for market losses and defending products like canola from unfair trade retaliations.
Singh’s party also has a plan for mental health in the ag industry.
An NDP federal government would work with farmers from across the country to develop a national ag mental health strategy and provide the proper support for those individuals who need it.
In addition, the NDP would invest in public ag research and data collection, and “ensure that rail transportation treats farmers fairly and helps them get their products to market efficiently and affordably,” the platform says.
The NDP have a plan for Canada’s fresh fruit and vegetable producers as well.
If they form the next government, the party would introduce a payment program for produce growers and restore protections for those selling to the U.S. under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
The U.S. passed this legislation in 1930 to create fair trade and business practices in the fruit and vegetable industry. In October 2014, Canada’s fruit and vegetable growers lost preferred access to U.S. markets.
The NDP also want to increase the volume of Canadian food that’s sold and processed in local communities.
Singh’s party has a vision for rural Canada more generally, too.
Starting with connectivity, the party promises to take swift action on bringing reliable Internet and broadband speeds to underserved communities.
To help rural Canadians get around, the NDP would re-establish bus routes no longer served by Greyhound and increase bus and passenger train services in rural regions.
For rural students pursuing post-secondary education, the NDP would provide more financial assistance for them to complete distance education courses.
An NDP government would also help provide other community services by increasing the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit and working with Canada Post to develop a model of postal banking.
Read our other election coverage to find out what the Liberals and Green parties have planned for farmers and rural Canada.
The Conservative platform will be available on Oct. 11, party leader Andrew Scheer said during a campaign stop in Whitby, Ont., on Sept. 30.
Farms.com will outline the highlights of the Conservative platform once it becomes available.