Home Month and Year July 2020 Ottawa Needs to Be More Assertive About Agriculture

Ottawa Needs to Be More Assertive About Agriculture

Terry O'Flynn.

The history of our country is rooted in agriculture and is a $7.5 billion dollar industry in Alberta. Farmers are the ultimate expression of free enterprise entrepreneurs.

If you have ever doubted the importance of our farming community, just look at what happened during the thick of the pandemic. The agriculture sector stepped right in, even when challenges such as access to workers and threats of outbreaks posed real and prevalent dangers. Despite all this, Albertans were able to go to the store and get the meat and produce they needed.

But, while our food supply chain is (thankfully) intact, our entire agriculture sector may be, once again, be taken for granted.

Our agriculture sector has not taken the last few months off. They’ve been challenged, but as they have done throughout the history of our country, they have met the adversity and delivered.

In an age where reality TV is more and more popular, the Prime Minister is playing the role of celebrity more than he has taken the traditional role of Prime Minister. He has spent a large number of weeks working from home, stepping outside daily for press conferences, rather than having a presence in parliament and in the community, unlike some other world leaders. Every day he doles out taxpayer money to different groups, and the federal deficit has ballooned to more than $252 billion. The free flow of cash has been a financial boom for some workers. For example, we’ve seen $9 billion for students. This provides students with $1,250 a month in place of a summer job, and that’s a problem. Students are ready, willing, and eager to work, but like all of us, there are bills to be paid. With the added burden of student debt, what seems like the best choice? Work part time hours where they can earn less than $1,250 monthly or keep receiving the benefit as long as possible? It’s not just students faced with this decision. Its everyone that is receiving money while at home.

Yet, in the midst of it all, Trudeau’s Minister of Agriculture told Canadian farmers that they should “make better use of existing support.” Given that our struggling agricultural sector has kept Canadians supplied throughout this unprecedented crisis, don’t they deserve to be spoken to in a less condescending tone? Is this spending really that wise as Ottawa leaves Canadian farmers to fend for themselves?

In this crisis Ottawa relied on our agricultural sector, but it looks like our farmers can’t rely on Ottawa.

The tone needs to change from Ottawa. Our farmers should be respected, and their needs should be considered as important to our government as their sector is to Canadians. Just as much as the Prime Minister should show up and do his work in parliament, he should show up for our agricultural sector.

Until that time, it’s important for Canadians to lean in to support our farmers. Regardless of where you come from it’s important that everyone remains vocal in support of our farmers. At Alberta Enterprise Group we are “in on Ag!”