New agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau gets up to speed, plans to visit west 'soon'

Just six days on the job, newly minted Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau is already getting her feet wet in the agricultural world.

“I’m very well connected to the farmers in my region, and I’m very excited to (dive deep) into my new portfolio,” she says adding that she’s gong to make farmers in the west a focus since she’s already familiar with what’s going on with supply management in the east. That being said, she plans on making a trip to the west as soon as next week.

She credits her knowledgable team in helping her get up to speed on what key issue farmers are facing and when asked about the recent news of canola exports being blocked, she said she’s keeping a close eye on the matter.

“We’re taking it very seriously (and I’ve) already had conversations with Chinese officials,” Bibeau says. “They are telling us that they found an irregularity in the latest shipment, so we returned to our samples, we ran an analysis, and we haven’t found anything, so we’re really pushing the Chinese counterparts to explain what the situation is and we’re really having this discussion based on science.”

As far as compensation for canola farmers goes, if this were to drag on, Bibeau says it’s too early to say as she hopes it will get resolved in a timely manner.

One question many farmers were asking on Twitter, was if the new ag minister knows about what’s happening with India and Canada with the fumigation dispute.

“I had a high level briefing, this is an issue my team has brought it (to my attention), but I need to have further discussions to better understand the situation,” she says. “But I understand that our officials are having (continued) discussions Indian officials as well.”

Listen to the full interview with RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau about her new position.

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