Agriculture needs a new plan to connect with the Trudeau government

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won the fall election, the agriculture industry knew that it would face real challenges being viewed as a priority industry. I think the challenge has become much bigger than even the greatest skeptics of Mr. Trudeau could have imagined.

The prime minister’s announced $252 million in COVID-19 relief for the agricultural sector is being met with frustration from hog and beef producers, and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, since the three groups had asked for $100 million, $500 million, and $2.6 billion respectively. It would seem that messaging to date just doesn’t seem to be getting through to this government.

Over the past months and, more importantly, weeks under COVID-19, agriculture has shifted its messaging to attempt to appeal to this urban-centric government.

Agriculture began by talking about how important the industry is to the economy, how many jobs are created, how it is the fabric of vast acres of the country so on and so forth. This is a traditional, rational argument that seemed to solicit no reaction for support.

More recently, agriculture has ditched romanticized farming talking points for something more closely connected to the consumer: food.

The talking points have centred around food security, food production, food supply, food, food, food. Sadly, it seems even that has not resonated, as evidenced by this latest announcement by the Prime Minister.

It’s time for a new plan, clearly, but what should that plan be?

Is there a way to connect with the Finance Minster Bill Morneau and Prime Minster Justin Trudeau? It’s easy to give in and say it’s impossible. But we can’t afford to take such a defeatist attitude. There are fruit and vegetable growers and pork and beef producers that are in a desperate dire financial situation right now. A lack of access to labour and reduced packing capacity has crippled the industry. We know that Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau is struggling to carry our message and influence leaders in cabinet so we need to recognize this in our new strategy.

My bet is that Europeans would go the route of major demonstrations and theatrical antics to gain attention. Quebec farmers in the past have fulfilled their own versions of these extreme tactics. Some people argue that we need to better explain why the current business risk management (BRM) programs are not working for livestock which is why they are not utilized. Others maintain agriculture will not push the Trudeau in its direction until people in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver push him there.

We need a new plan.

We may have to throw away produce or cull animals in the short term, but we have to find a way to influence the Trudeau government before some great farmers disappear due to one really bad turn.

One thought on “Agriculture needs a new plan to connect with the Trudeau government

  1. I feel we truly need to get on top of some of these issues. Even the money already out there is not going to help. The dairy industry is being crushed with the Covid 10 issues and already lost quota. The quota is not free. A lot are still paying loans on this. Plus loss of income as well. All other industries chicken, pork, beef, vegetable/fruits, etc are also in hard times. We need to be educating the public & putting it back into schools. People do not even know where food really comes from or what work goes into it. I think we need to start standing together and not be so selfish and think only of our agriculture business. It is the small family farms (sole-proprietership or partnershipthat suffer more than the big corporate that pay themself a wage.
    Small Businesses not able to pay rent, etc., then maybe the government should be looking into this and help them out. Most small businesses are not Corporations but are sole- proprietorship or partnership. Even a family farm are in the same position since we are a family farm and not real big. Since ourselves & a lot of other small businesses like hairdresser, massage, etc will also fall into this category we are missed completely with getting the Canadian Emergency Business Account. Plus the Government thinks a landlord can just go without their rent. Honestly, they need to think a bit better on things. Some of these landlords may be paying a mortgage on the building so are unable to go without their rent. If these small businesses and small farms could get this help than that $40,000 interest free loan could be used to HELP pay the rent, or some of the expenses they may have.
    UNFORTUNATELY the issue that has been bothering me is how the Government caters to the big Corporations and our small family owned and operated businesses are not looked at. We need to start getting more small farms & businesses going again in all areas. More competition as well is better for everyone. A lot of the small business people that are non-incorporated apparently do not qualify for the government Canadian Emergency Business Account since they are not Corporations & do not have a T4 and work off of net profit instead. These are the ones that are truly needing it but don’t get the help. I have spoken to some of the corporations that get it. They think it is just great & even admit they don’t need it but they are taking it. YOU can’t blame them for doing that if the Government is Blind in seeing this. IN the first place a lot of these big businesses (that are still classed as a small business anyway which I find should be looked at different as well) get a lot of their purchase products at a lot better pricing than a small business. I know a case where a Corporation got their propane for 30cents while the other small business that was not a corporation was paying 78cents. Yet they still got the same money for selling their goods since it was the same type of business. This is just one example of how much the big business saves compared to a small business. No wonder there are less small businesses, small farmers & including small stores etc able to keep going. We are allowing the Big Corporations to run our country & the Government allows this as well. What is wrong with a balance of both corporations & small business.
    All the Government needs to start doing is looking at helping the small business. For the Canadian Emergency Business Account they just need to allow it to be available for businesses that work off of Net profit instead of T4. This would help a lot including the rent issue for businesses. To a small business this is better than nothing. To the big guy this is a treat they really do not need buy will take. Why is the Government holding back on this & giving it to the Corporations. Even a banker, & not my banker or bank, told me that he was calling all his (Corporations) and telling them to take it rather they need it or not. Honestly 99% of these probably are not needing it. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!! This is to be there for the businesses that TRULY are in need of help.

    I hope that you will look into this for it is not good & a lot of money not getting into the right hands that need it.

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