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Liberals release 2021 election platform

Liberals release 2021 election platform

The document highlights past and future commitments to the ag sector

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party unveiled its 2021 election platform Wednesday.

The 86-page document, “Forward. For Everyone.”, outlines how a re-elected Liberal government would continue to help Canada emerge from the pandemic, reconcile with Indigenous communities and build a more resilient economy.

The platform also includes mentions of agriculture.

It highlights past commitments, including $2.7 billion in compensation since 2015 to dairy, poultry and egg farmers as a result of CETA and CPTPP, and $100 million for dairy processors to adapt to CETA.

The Liberals are also “committed to full and fair compensation with respect to the new NAFTA,” and will work with the sector to “determine compensation within the first year of a new mandate,” the platform says.

A re-elected Liberal government would include agriculture in conversations about solutions to climate change.

If the party wins the election on Sept. 20, it promises to “increase support to farmers to develop and adapt agricultural management practices to reduce emissions, store carbon in healthy soil, and enhance resiliency,” the document reads.

In addition, a Liberal government would triple funding for cleantech on farms, including renewable energy, precision ag and energy efficiency.

Keeping with climate change, the Liberals promise to update business risk management programs to reflect climate needs.

Prime Minister Trudeau promises to “work with provinces, territories, and farmers – including Indigenous and young farmers – to update business risk management agriculture programs to fully integrate climate risk management, environmental practices, and climate readiness.”

To tackle food waste, the Liberals are committed to building on an already existing program.

Furthering the work of the $20 million Food Waste Reduction Challenge, a re-elected Liberal government would create a new No-Waste Food Fund to ensure no food is wasted from farm to table.

“The fund will help all players along the food supply chain to commercialize and adopt ways to eliminate, reduce or repurpose food waste,” the Liberal platform says.

The Liberals also have a plan to help the industry overcome labour shortages.

If elected, the party would create an Agricultural Labour Strategy with employers and unions to address this issue.

For context, data from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council in April estimated labour shortages cost Canadian farmers $2.9 billion.

The 2021 Liberal platform also includes sections dedicated to rural communities.

Increasing health care access for rural Canada, for example, is one priority.

A re-elected Liberal government would “expand the number of family doctors and primary health teams in rural communities, by increasing by 50 per cent (from $40,000 up to $60,000 over five years), the maximum debt relief that family doctors, residents in family medicine, nurse practitioners, or nurses are eligible for under the Canada Student Loans forgiveness program.”

The government also promises to ensure rural communities have access to reliable broadband.

Canada’s largest national carriers “will be required to accelerate the roll-out of wireless and high-speed internet in rural and northern Canada by progressively meeting broadband access milestones between now and 2025,” the platform says.

Those who fail to do so will be mandates to sell the spectrum rights to smaller, regional providers.

The Liberal government outlined other measures for agriculture and rural Canada in its spring 2021 budget.

Since the election call, has covered the platforms of the five major parties with elected MPs.

Readers looking for information on how the other parties view ag and rural Canada can click on their respective links:

Conservative Party of Canada – Canada’s Recovery Plan

New Democratic Party – Ready for Better

Bloc Québécois

Ag's place in the Green platform will highlight the Green Party platform once it becomes available.

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