The Liberal Party of Canada is committed to wiping the slate clean and rebuilding agricultural policy in Canada by having farm programs built by farmers for farmers, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said today in a speech to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
“Food is fundamental for our lives, our economy, our health, our communities, and our cultural heritage,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “Canada needs a comprehensive National Food Policy that sets out our objectives to be the world’s leading supplier of quality foods, and a country where farmers can make a living.
“Two years ago, I committed to farmers that Agricultural policy has to come from the farm up, not Ottawa down. We want to put the ‘flex’ in AgriFlex – federal funding that can be used for practical programs on the ground, such as the RMP in Ontario, ASRA in Quebec, improved crop insurance, or a livestock market price insurance program in the West, or a Buy Atlantic program in the East.”
As part of the Liberal “Working Families Tour” that is reaching out to hard-working families across the country, Mr. Ignatieff gave a speech in Ottawa to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Joined by Liberal Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter, Mr. Ignatieff also outlined the Liberal Party’s other commitments to bridge the rural-urban divide, including:
- investing $500 million to achieve 100% high-speed internet;
- forgiving up to $20,000 over four years of federal student loans for doctors who practice in rural areas;
- ensuring that Canada Post maintains rural mail service; and
- introducing Canada’s first-ever National Food Policy, based largely on the CFA’s own work developing a National Food Strategy.
“For five years, the Harper Conservatives have ignored the real priorities of Canadian farmers,” said Mr. Easter. “They’ve tinkered around the edges but have offered no support for struggling beef and hog farmers, no support for flexible programs, nothing to connect consumers to the high-quality foods that Canadian farmers produce.
“Stephen Harper’s biggest accomplishment is being the biggest-spending government in Canadian history. Thanks to him, we have a $56-billion deficit and now the Conservatives’ number-one economic policy is to borrow another $6 billion every year to give tax breaks to the largest corporations.”