RealAg Politics, Ep 3: What should be in the next Minister of Agriculture's mandate letter?


What’s potentially on the desk for the next agriculture minister? What should be in the new Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s mandate letter?

Host Kelvin Heppner is joined by Tyler McCann, managing director of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, for this episode of RealAg Politics. McCann recently wrote his own mandate letter of what he thinks should be on the docket in the coming weeks.


  • McCann lives and breathes farm ag policy
  • He wrote his own mandate letter for the next ag minister, which you can find here.
  • Trudeau, when he was made Prime Minister, made mandate letters public
  • A big picture view, adding value (which is more than just value-added)
  • We don’t want just the ag minister thinking about agriculture
  • Trade, Health, Infrastructure are always departments that ag need to work with
  • Where is the minister leading, or supporting other departments? It helps understand where the ag minister fits in the broader perspective.
  • When Bibeau got her mandate letter in 2021, she was tasked with supporting ministers of environment/climate change, and minister of natural resources
  • All the big topics that are part of McCann’s mandate letter will be on the upcoming ag minister’s plate, whether that’s Bibeau, or someone else.
  • Common vision should come first
  • Business risk management programs. Federal-Provincial-Territorial meeting. Wouldn’t that be first on the calendar?
  • Developing a road map towards net-zero. Nature-based climate solutions.
  • Canada produces food, demand is going to increase. Striking a balance between carbon emissions reductions, but also maintaining our levels of food production.
  • Does the ag department need to work more with the environment and climate change department?
  • There are opportunities to embrace net-zero, and there’s always the potential for agriculture to do more. But there needs to be a concrete plan, and ag needs to be in the driver’s seat.
  • Balancing act: costs that policy makers want to move ahead on, disconnect between farm-level and policies
  • The government will pay for part of your electric car, but where’s the incentive for sectional control on an air-seeder?
  • Will NGOs or other groups have a greater say to the Ag Minister? NGOs speak loudly, their messages get noticed, but ministers and political staff understand the dynamics at play. Re: CRISPR
  • It’s important to get engaged so that government hears from farmers across the country. When your farm group says to speak up, do it.
  • Take part in the comment periods to ensure that these new technologies get attention in parliament
  • Decisions that are made by officials at PMRA or by Health Canada are clearly explained and communicated to the broader general public.
  • Science, not opinion. #scicomm and not just from the scientific community, but also from departmental offices
  • Hopefully, there’s an improvement in the time between announcing a big budget/ticket item, and that item actually being rolled out
  • Would newly elected Liberal MPs out west improve the connection or voice of the agri-food sector in Ottawa?

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Please register to read and comment.


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.