Team Alberta says the lack of dialogue from federal parties means less clarity for farmers leading into next week’s election
With the federal election now less than a week away, Team Alberta is disappointed in the lack of dialogue from Canada’s major federal parties on global trade, as well as a number of other key farm-gate issues.
Despite the market uncertainty that farmers have been facing as a result of major trade disputes—all while facing the stress of an extremely challenging harvest with an estimated $3.6 billion in crop still out—trade has not been prioritized on the campaign trail by any major party. Canada is facing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers with canola imports to China, durum wheat into Italy, pulses into India and barley into Saudi Arabia.
Further, Team Alberta issued a questionnaire to all major parties to help inform farmers’ decisions before they head to the polls on October 21. In addition to trade, the questionnaire covered the carbon tax, business risk management programs, pesticide regulations, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) surplus and calls for CGC reform.
Formal responses have been received from the Conservative and Green parties, but are still outstanding from the Liberal and New Democratic parties.
All major parties have now released their ag policies as part of their platforms but the topics do not address Alberta farmers’ priorities as outlined in the questionnaire. Agricultural priorities from each of the major parties can be found here for the Conservatives, here for the Liberals, here for the NDP and here for the Green Party.
Team Alberta still invites the Liberal and NDP parties to respond to the questionnaire to ensure farmers have adequate information to make their decisions before they cast their ballots.
“With the uncertainty farmers have been facing with trade disputes for several commodities, we expected to see much more emphasis on this issue leading up to the election,” said John Guelly, Alberta Canola chair. “The lack of discussion makes it impossible to know which party will best resolve these disputes.”
“The challenging harvest we’re facing with more than $3.6 billion in unharvested acres across Alberta adds even more uncertainty than we were already facing with our key export markets,” said Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley chair. “We need clarity on how these federal parties plan to respond to trade issues and a number of other topics.”
“While we appreciate the Conservative and Green party efforts to inform farmers how they intend to respond to major farm-gate issues, we are disappointed that the Liberal and NDP parties could not follow through,” said Gary Stanford, Alberta Wheat Commission chair.
“It would have been extremely helpful to have a full slate of responses from all major parties so that farmers could properly compare their plans leading into the election,” said Don Shepert, Alberta Pulse Growers chair.
Rachel Peterson, Communications Coordinator
Alberta Pulse Growers
780-986-9398 ext. 108
Michelle Chunyua, Communications Coordinator
Victoria Decker, Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions