question period — Agriculture and Agri-Food

Risk Management Programs

February 5, 2020


Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)
[15:26]

Honourable senators, as I mentioned earlier, in recent months farmers across Canada have had to contend with global trade protectionism, miserable harvest weather conditions, a rail strike and added costs due to the carbon tax.

A review of business risk management programs was announced in July 2017. Over two and a half years later, farmers are understandably frustrated by the absence of progress in this review. In December, they were told to wait until this summer when more talks will take place between the federal and provincial governments.

Senator Gold, could you please tell us, or get the information for us, as to why this is taking so long? Is there any way for your government to speed up the review process?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate)
[15:27]

Thank you for the question. I will make inquiries as to the status of those discussions and be pleased to report back to the chamber.

[15:27]

The timing of the review, a report due in April and another meeting in July suggest there will be no changes in the upcoming federal budget to AgriStability or other business risk management programs.

Senator Gold, our farmers cannot keep waiting. Why are they being asked to wait? They need support now. Will your government put in place the help our farmers need?

Senator Gold
[15:28]

Thank you for your question. I’m advised that the government is working very hard on many fronts and has, in fact, provided support in many areas to Canadian farmers in light of all the challenges those farmers face. Many of them you’ve mentioned; others, including challenges with our relationship with China, are well known and need not be elaborated.

The Government of Canada has advised me that there are many measures in place, including those that were negotiated and are in place and will be in place once we ratify the legislation implementing CUSMA.

Again, I repeat that I will be happy to look into the status of those negotiations and discussions and report back to the chamber.