question period — Agriculture and Agri-Food

Support for Farmers and Producers

November 24, 2021


Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)
[15:18]

It’s good to be back in the chamber, leader, holding this continuously incompetent government to account.

The emergency in B.C. caused by unprecedented flooding has been heartbreaking for all Canadians to witness. I know every honourable senator joins me in sending condolences to the families of those who have died.

My question relates to the situation being faced by farmers in British Columbia. Livestock producers who were able to evacuate with their animals had to leave behind the feed for their herds. As the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has stated, the crisis in the region could have long-term consequences for animal welfare and our food supply.

Leader, what is the Government of Canada doing right now to provide emergency support to British Columbia farmers, especially livestock producers?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate)
[15:19]

Thank you for your question.

The devastation in British Columbia touches us all. The Canadian government has responded quickly to the calls of the B.C. government for assistance — much of which has been reported in the newspaper — military presence and financial aid.

I will make inquiries with regard to specific aid to those farmers who are suffering grievous damage as a result of this disaster and report back as quickly as I can.

[15:20]

I hope that report will come sooner rather than later, leader. This is devastating, and continues to be so, for British Columbia.

This year, leader, British Columbia farmers have been challenged by the pandemic, wildfires, drought and now catastrophic flooding and mudslides. While yesterday’s Speech from the Throne contained a vague assurance that the Trudeau government will be there for the province, it barely mentioned our farmers from B.C. or, indeed, anywhere else in Canada.

Farm families need assurances from the Trudeau government that they will not be an afterthought once British Columbia begins its recovery process. Yesterday’s Throne Speech would have been a good time, leader, to offer that support, but instead it was nowhere to be found.

Leader, I appreciate that you’ll probably have to get back to us on this, but what long-term assistance is your government offering farmers and livestock producers who have had their operations destroyed by the floods in B.C.?

Senator Gold
[15:21]

I will be happy to get back to you with specific answers. I do want to emphasize, though, that the tragedies and devastation — not only in British Columbia but elsewhere in this country — underline the importance of a collective effort to fight climate change, to which this government remains committed.