Red Deer-Mountain View MP urges federal action on canola export impasse

MP Earl Dreeshen calls out Liberals during Question Period

Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen has called on the government to do more in the wake of China’s move to stop importing Canadian canola.

“Canola farmers are the most recent victims of this Liberal government’s bungling with our global partners,” said Dreeshen during question period in the House of Commons on Thursday.

“When will the prime minister resolve the canola issue in China?”

China cancelled export permits for two major Canadian canola exporters, citing pest concerns. Other Chinese buyers soon stopped importing any Canadian canola.

Dreeshen also criticized the government for not dealing with India, Saudia Arabia, Peru and Vietnam, which have “taken unwarranted trade actions against this vital sector of our economy.”

Dreeshen has previously criticized the government for barriers to wheat exports to Italy, pulse crop access to India and barley access to Saudia Arabia.

Statistics Canada recently reported that Canadian canola stocks rose to 10 million tonnes, up 10 per cent over last year. If nothing changes, Canadian farmers could be left with 3.5 million tonnes of unsold canola when the season ends July 31.

For farmers, high canola stock means lower prices, which has prompted many farmers to reduce the amount of canola they will plant this season in anticipation of ongoing issues.

In responding to Dreeshen, Omar Alghabra, Liberal parliamentary secretary for the minister of international trade and diversification, touted the federal government’s plan last week to announce a support package for farmers.

The Advanced Payment Program cap was boosted to $1 million from $400,000 to help farmers. The interest-free portion was boosted to $500,000 from $100,000.

“We continue to call on China to resolve this issue on a scientific-base evidence,” said Alghabra.

A trade mission to Japan and South Korea is taking place next month to find new buyers.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has called on the government to fill the vacant ambassador to China position and take the canola issue to the World Trade Organization.

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