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Question 2 : Agriculture

A United Nations report called “Wake up before it's too late” calls for the transformation of agriculture saying we need “a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production toward mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers”. If elected would you work to make this change happen in our region and if so, how would you go about transforming our agriculture?

Q2 New Democrat +  

The NDP launched a comprehensive pan-Canadian food and agriculture strategy in 2011 called “Everybody Eats”.

The strategy comes out of a 2011 election platform and is the culmination of three years of outreach and consultations with farmers and stakeholders. It is the first food strategy to be released by any federal political party.

The NDP strategy puts forward practical policies to ensure that everyone eats well (is food secure), that our agricultural communities are sustainable for generations to come, and that Canadian products find growing markets at home and abroad. We start from the principle that food is a fundamental human right.

Working with the provinces and territories, our strategy lays out a vision to strengthen our food system and support local food production in the promotion of food sovereignty.

Conservatives are taking our agricultural sector for granted and are not taking leadership when it comes to health, sustainability, and transparency in our food production system.

The NDP will:

  • Ease entrance barriers for new and young agrarians.
  • Impose a moratorium on new genetically modified crops
  • Support local agriculture and sales of locally-produced food.
  • Invest in public research as the core of agricultural innovation.
  • Support the agricultural sector as a major contributor to job creation and our national economy.

Q2 Green +  

This is a critical piece of building a resilient community. Events half a world away can have measurable impacts on our food supply in Canada. Transportation adds to the carbon footprint of the food itself. It only makes sense to grow close to where the food will be consumed.

Transforming agriculture in many cases means rolling back some of the current regulations that favor industrial scale producers over local farmers. Changing this will require cooperation with the provinces, as much of the current restrictive legislation falls within their sphere of responsibility.

Part of the transformation of our system needs to be social. People can do this now. Volunteering at community gardens, building neighborhood barter networks, and supporting local producers via CSA box programs or at the farmer's market, are happening now. Working locally with all involved is an expectation that I have of my MP and I would certainly do my best to advocate [for] and support a transition to a stronger local food economy here in the North Okanagan-Shuswap if I were the person in that role.

Here is a direct quote from Vision Green:
"The Green Party approach to Canadian agriculture policies is clear: reduce the dependence on chemical inputs, rebuild and protect natural soil fertility, value quality produce and support local economies, reduce waste, increase the number of farm families, and invest in climate adaptation strategies for Canadian agriculture."

Q2 Liberal +  

As a life-long resident of the riding and having acted as a lawyer for many farmers and ranchers in the area, I am aware of the challenges faced by local producers.

It comes down to a question of food security which has not been a priority of the Harper government. Not only is Canada the only nation in the developed world without a national food strategy, the Harper Conservatives have made deep cuts to food inspection and food safety. Without leadership from the top, there will come a time when Canadians can’t trust the food that’s in grocery store shelves.

During the last election, the Liberal Party presented Canadians with a comprehensive food policy for Canada that would increase access to healthy, affordable food, while also building social and economic opportunities in rural Canada. A Liberal government would work consultitavely with community groups, provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal organizations and producers to develop and implement a national food policy.

Recently Mr. Trudeau has re-affirmed a Liberal government’s support for supply management and will ensure that any future trade deals do not erode the present regime.

As MP I would work to foster small-scale farming. I envision this riding becoming better known for its local food production. We have a number of very high quality agricultural producers already leading the way. We need a champion in Ottawa.

Q2 Conservative +  

Not submitted