When it comes to the Canadian federal election, many in the agricultural sector have been disappointed the industry hasn’t been much of a debate topic.
Saskatchewan farmer Danny Ottenbreit agrees, so when the opportunity to participate in CBC’s The National about the election with Green Party leader Elizabeth May, he felt there was no way he could say no.
Climate change was a main focus, and Ottenbreit brought both passion and emotion to the table during the discussion — where he highlighted his thoughts that all parties are missing the full equation when it comes to climate change.
“I hope people don’t misunderstand and think I was really that upset with the Green Party because I honestly think they are doing the most, and they are probably willing to do the most for agriculture, and to include agriculture, in the fight against climate change. I really hope people saw is that I was really trying to make sure that (we hold the) Liberal’s feet to the fire, because they are not doing enough,” explains Ottenbreit to RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney. “And now they want to talk like they are the best choice if you want to fight climate change, and I don’t believe the Liberals. I actually believe Elizabeth May the most.”
Naturally, Haney had one big question about this. Why?
“I think all of the other parties at some point will sacrifice agriculture for something else. I think the Green Party and agriculture — when it comes to the fight against climate change — they are willing to do what it takes. They are willing to bring agriculture in, and they are willing to include us. And I wish the other parties were there, but they aren’t,” he says.
Ottenbreit acknowledges that it is hard for the Greens to give us any proof on this matter since they’ve only held one seat, but he is hopeful for the party if they are able to gain some traction.
“My hope is that if they gain some power, they gain some more seats, if we end up with a minority government, with Liberal or Conservative, (Elizabeth May) will get a little more sway, and she’ll be able to push this agenda.”
In an export-dependent country such as Canada, it wouldn’t be a complete agricultural conversation in 2019 if the topic of trade didn’t come up as well. Although the conversation did surface, it got directed back to talk about the domestic market.
“[May] did say that exporting the excess is not a problem. She did point out that adding value-added inside our own country is a good thing. And I can’t disagree with her. I mean, we just saw a big announcement this morning for a new oat milling facility in Winnipeg,” he says. “More of that is all good. And I think part of that is people don’t understand the scope of modern agriculture and how many tonnes we are actually producing per acre. And what we actually do with that.”
Check out the full conversation between Ottenbreit and Haney, below: