Residents in the province head to the polls on Oct. 17
By Diego Flammini
New Brunswick’s ag sector could receive more provincial funding if the Liberals form the next government.
As part of a campaign promise to the industry, a Liberal government would add $5 million to the budget for the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries to use in cost-share programs.
In addition, the Liberals would provide for land buyback with leasing agreements to help farmers experiencing cashflow issues.
“Agriculture is arguably one of the most important sectors in our province, now more than ever,” Kevin Vickers, leader of the province’s Liberal party, said during an Aug. 20 campaign stop. “We need to help our farmers survive the rough seasons in order to recuperate, recapitalize and continue providing food for New Brunswickers.”
Vickers made the announcement at Givskud Farms, a potato and grain operation near Drummond, N.B.
The same day, Premier Blaine Higgs announced what his government would do for the agri-food sector if re-elected.
A Conservative government would continue to implement its Food Security Action Plan, which it revealed in the spring.
The plan includes studying year-round farming options like greenhouses and indoor farming, promoting local food and working on an immigration pilot program to help seasonal workers enter the province.
“The pandemic provided important lessons about our reliance on foreign markets and the resiliency of our supply chain,” he said on Aug 20 outside of the Bouctouche Farmers Market. “While we are self-sufficient when it comes to poultry and dairy, and we are world leaders in potatoes, seafood and blueberries, we saw an overreliance on imports of other types of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some meats.”
The Green Party, if elected, promises to create another provincial department within the government.
David Coon, leader of the Green Party, committed to the creation of the Department of Rural Affairs.
This department would ensure the government hears rural communities and their issues fairly.
“When I listen to Mr. Higgs and Mr. Vickers, they don’t get rural communities,” Coon said in an Aug. 20 statement. “They just don’t get that rural people are bearing the brunt of the consequences of the climate crisis. I am proud of the rural nature of our province. It is who we are. Rural New Brunswickers can count on my MLAs and I to stand up for them.”
To date, the NDP and its leader, Mackenzie Thomason, haven’t announced any campaign promises.
Farms.com has reached out the province’s ag community for comment on party platforms and industry priorities.