Blaine Calkins
Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe

04-29-19 (April)

It's Outr-AG-eous!

Anyone that has met me has likely heard the story that I grew up on a small farm just north of Lacombe and that my parents still live there today.

I worked the farm with my father while I was growing up and just last year helped him clean out the bins from the last harvest.   I understand the work that is required to run a farm and how farmers are often victim to weather and unplanned market forces.

In the last few weeks Canada’s canola farmers have been victim to a new kind of market force. 
The Chinese government is refusing Canadian canola, citing alleged pest concerns.

Now we know this is simply not true.  We know that our canola is the very best in the world and that the recent action of the Chinese government to refuse our product is nothing more than retaliation for the arrest of the Huawei executive inside our borders.   In short, Canada’s farmers have lost market access to China because Justin Trudeau and his Liberals do not know how to
manage their reputation on the world stage.

But let me be clear, canola farmers are not only agriculture victims of Justin Trudeau’s inadequacies, they are just the latest.

In 2017 following the Prime Minister’s disastrous trip to India, that country rejected an extension on peas and lentils which put approximately $1 Billion worth of exports to that country at risk and in late 2018 Canada’s durum wheat exports fell 22% after Italy implemented country-of-origin regulations that caused restrictions on wheat from our country.

These types of actions create uncertainty here at home.  Farmers make plans to grow certain crops with the understanding there is market access for them.  In the case of canola, our market access is now reduced by 40% and many farmers have already made financial commitments for
seed.  This has the makings of a crisis – a crisis that the Liberals don’t want to talk about.

Three times they have made motions to block a request for an emergency debate on this issue and the Liberal members of the Agriculture and Agri Food Committee have blocked the appearance of Ministers to testify before committee on this very issue.

Why is it so hard for Justin Trudeau and his Liberals to do right by Canadians and allow them to prosper?

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Blaine Calkins - Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe