opinion column

opinion column

Opinion: Liberals should not be targeting farmers

I am honoured to serve as shadow minister for agriculture, agri-food and food security in the 44th Parliament.

The Canadian agriculture and agri-food sectors account for more than $100 billion in economic activity every year and employ more than two million Canadians. The importance of agriculture to our national interest cannot be overstated.

As the agricultural landscape changes, we recognize the sector also continues to diversify, becoming more efficient as well as more environmentally and economically sustainable. Technology, research and innovation empowers Canadian Agriculture to be more competitive in the global marketplace.

The government should not be targeting farmers, but rather fostering and encouraging best practices and shared information.

Farmers worked without compromise to ensure a safe and stable food supply throughout the pandemic. Our agriculture producers are an integral part of our economy and are essential to our food security. If this pandemic has revealed anything, it is the absolute need to prioritize our agriculture and food supply chains.

Our farmers can compete with the best, but they need a level playing field to do so. Many of the recent Liberal policies put Canadian businesses, producers and farmers at a major disadvantage in the global marketplace.

By over-regulating Canadian industries, it has opened up opportunities for international competitors with lower standards and lower costs of production to flood the markets.

This is not right, and I will stand up for the reduction of red-tape and burdensome regulations against our farmers and agriculture sector. As shadow minister, I want good science to be the hallmark of decision-making when it comes to agriculture policy, and to ensure a level playing field whereby every sector can reach its potential.

To help our farmers succeed, it is important we continue to grow our international market opportunities and decrease the red tape and harmful tax drains against the agriculture sector.

Agriculture in Canada has a bright future and it will be a key driver to Canada’s economic recovery. As we continue to combat this pandemic and the economic damage it has caused, we must unleash and utilize the capabilities of our agriculture sector.

Canada’s Conservatives have a positive vision for our farmers, ranchers, producers and agri-businesses.

We want to make Canadian agriculture a global powerhouse, improve critical transport infrastructure, increase export capacity and remove trade barriers, ensure farmers have the tools they need to succeed, and to continue to produce the best food in the world with access to markets around the globe.

It is my role as shadow minister for agriculture, agri-food and food security to be a strong voice in Ottawa for our farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses. I’m here to listen and take your message to Ottawa.

I look forward to championing Canadian agriculture and once again working with stakeholders from across Canada.

John Barlow, MP for Foothills, has been appointed as the shadow minister for agriculture, agri-food and food security.