Mixed reaction to new federal youth council — what will it accomplish?

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced the 25 members of its Canadian Agricultural Youth Council recently. In the application process, AAFC committed to regional representation and choosing members with a diversity of backgrounds.

In naming the 25 members, AAFC has certainly achieved that — with people from every province and one from the northern territories, and a mix of 14 women and 11 men. The backgrounds of each member, too, are incredibly diverse: from a veterinarian, to academics, to small-scale farmers, to those interested in permaculture and on to those with almost no agriculture experience at all.

Feedback from the post has come in publicly and over direct messages and email. It’s not a secret that much of rural Canada voted blue and not red in the last federal election. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal minority government has also been criticized by the agriculture sector at large for not being in tune with what’s actually happening in the sector and being non-supportive, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the predisposition of many in commercial agriculture, the reaction to the Youth Council has also been mixed. Many think it’s a great concept, but wonder what the council will actually do, and whether or not the make up of the council really serves agriculture as a sector or just the ideals of the current government.

What are your thoughts? What do you hope to see the council provide to the current government?

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