Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions concerned over lack of focus on agriculture in Speech from the Throne
The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions are concerned about the lack of recognition of Canadian agriculture and the role farmers can play in Canada’s economic recovery in yesterday’s Speech from the Throne.
Farmers are well positioned to fuel the economy, driving job creation and prosperity. While the speech highlights the need to build a stronger, more resilient Canada and strengthen the middle class, the speech failed to address a number of barriers to growth facing the agriculture industry.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that our agriculture industry is incredibly resilient during dire times,” says Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley chair. “Farmers take pride in ensuring Canadians have access to safe and reliable food. Canada’s agriculture industry is already an economic driver and can help diversify our economy during this time of rebuilding.”
Alberta farmers have been instrumental in maintaining Canada’s food security during the COVID-19 pandemic while moving large volumes of grain to export markets and contributing to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They are now hard at work harvesting a large crop and have a number of priorities that need the immediate attention of the Government of Canada to allow them to remain competitive.
As members of the Grain Growers of Canada, the commissions support the six key priorities identified in their Speech from the Combine which included: improvements to Business Risk Management programs, research and innovation, crop health, trade access, carbon tax exemptions and improved connectivity in rural areas.
“We appreciate the government’s commitment to improving rural connectivity and recognizing farmers as key partners in the fight against climate change,” says Todd Hames, Alberta Wheat Commission chair. “However, barriers to growth such as a carbon tax hinder our competitiveness and penalizes farmers who sequester more carbon than we emit.”
The commissions recognize the Government of Canada’s efforts to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians, including recent actions that have helped protect the food supply chain domestically and globally, including deeming agriculture as an essential service.
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions