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Ag on the federal campaign trail

Ag on the federal campaign trail

The industry doesn’t get as much attention as other sectors, one producer said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The ag industry hasn’t received much attention as the Oct. 21 federal election continues to draw closer, Canadian farmers and industry reps say.

While party leaders Justin Trudeau (Liberal), Andrew Scheer (Conservative), Jagmeet Singh (NDP) and Elizabeth May (Green) are touring the country making platform announcements about climate change, tax cuts and other priorities, agriculture appears to be on the backburner.

“I’ve been following a little bit of what’s happening on Twitter and it doesn’t seem like any (of the four major parties) have really mentioned anything” about the industry, Dean Moore, a cattle producer from Paradise Hill, Sask., told Farms.com. “It looks like politics and farming don’t mix right now.”

Some members of the ag community aren’t surprised by farming’s absence during campaign announcements.

“It’s usual that, during federal elections, agriculture isn’t high on the radar because of the distance between the industry and most of the population,” Mike Southwood, general manager of Alberta Milk, told Farms.com. “We always think we contribute significantly to the GDP of this country and feed the world, so we think we have an important part to play.”

One reason for the industry’s lack of a presence during the campaign trail discussions could be because of candidates’ strategies.

The parties are more focused on winning in Eastern Canada, Moore said.

“It’s Quebec and Ontario that everyone is looking after. Whatever we do out here is going to be the opposition party,” he said.

But the industry hasn’t been completely shut out of the federal election campaign cycle.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) hosted an ag leaders’ debate on Sept. 24.

Marie-Claude Bibeau (Liberal), Luc Berthold (a Conservative MP), Alistair MacGregor (an NDP MP) and Kate Story (a Green Party representative) answered questions based on the CFA’s Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign.



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