The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is hoping the arrival of new federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay will mark a change in the impact farmers have on public policy.
MacAulay’s been on the job for less than a month, but so far Ron Bonnett likes what he sees. The CFA president received a call from the new minister within 24 hours of his appointment and last week MacAulay called into the first CFA post-election board meeting to engage the farm organizations’ leaders.
“The fact that he’s reaching out is a really good sign – trying to get feedback from the farm community about the types of things that need to be put in place,” said Bonnett following his address at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture annual meeting earlier this week in Toronto.
“There is a different mood in Ottawa right now,” said Bonnett. He noted that the CFA always had a good relationship with Conservative Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, “but it was a very tight agenda, it was very scripted – these are the things that we’re moving forward with.”
“What we’re starting to see from the initial outset is more of a willingness to engage groups in a broader discussion of where we should be going,” said Bonnett.