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Federal Ag Critic Says 2019 A Tough Year For Agriculture

Foothills MP, John Barlow, says it was one thing after another for the agriculture sector in 2019.
Barlow, who's also the Conservative's Agriculture Critic, says the year started with the canola trade issue with China, followed by challenging harvest weather, and rounded off with the CN Rail strike.
He says farmers understand there's a number of variables out of their control, but look to the government to ensure they have market access, infrastructure to get their product to market, and a competitive tax regime.
"Right now, the Government has failed on all of those things," Barlow said. "We've lost critical trade markets, the CN strike, and then a grain backlog two years ago, and now a carbon tax on top of that, which really impacted producers this year when they were trying to dry grain. They need someone who understands the circumstances they face, and they need the tools to be successful, and as a government, you have provide some of those tools."
In regards to China, Barlow says he doesn't see the situation being resolved in the near future.
He notes it was good to see Canadian pork and beef trade recently resume into China, however, he says the resolution had more to do with African Swine Fever and China's need to feed its population than politics.
Barlow says hopefully they'll be able to see a resolution for the canola situation, but not until the Prime Minister starts standing up for agriculture.
"Still giving $250 million to fund the Asian Infrastructure Bank, still has not done a formal challenge to WTO (World Trade Organization). These are things that he can do, and should do, to at least send a message that we're not push overs, we're taking this seriously. So those are some of the things we're hopeful we'll see in the new year."
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