On December 13 Justin Trudeau released the Mandate Letter for Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The letter underscores the aim of building a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country. Trudeau also directs every Minister to accelerate and build on the progress previously made to support self-determination, improve service delivery, and advance reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. And Trudeau emphasizes the need for open, effective, honest, and transparent government.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Priorities
Within Agriculture and Agri-Food, Trudeau underscores the goal that agriculture continues to be a leader in job creation and innovation as well as maximizing its export growth potential. The Letter spells out ten priorities for the Minister Bibeau:
- Review risk management programs with a special focus on AgriStability to help manage environmental and business risks.
- Work on tax measures to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of farms.
- Create a new entity, Farm and Food Development Canada, that consolidates federal financial and advisory services for agriculture.
- Protect Canada’s supply-managed agriculture sections and develop with them a vision of the future in a world of global free-trade agreements.
- To identify additional tools that help Canada’s agriculture and agri-food businesses export and diversify into global markets.
- Develop additional capacity to respond to trade disputes based on recent experiences.
- Provide leadership for the implementation of the new Food Policy for Canada, which aims to:
- Help Canadian communities access healthy food;
- Make Canadian food the top choice at home and abroad;
- Support food security in northern and Indigenous communities; and
- Reduce food waste.
- Support the Minister of Health to ensure that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency is making science-based decisions that lead to safe and suitable uses of crop protection products in Canada.
- Create a new fund to help producers and processors close technological and infrastructure gaps inhibiting the development of domestic and international markets.
- Create a new Canada Water Agency to work with other stakeholders to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean, and well-managed.
Middlesex-London Food Policy Council
Many of these priorities will directly impact the communities and residents of Middlesex County and the City of London, though they do not exhaust the issues of concern to us. As a Council, we are looking forward to watching the Liberal government’s progress on these priorities and on other issues facing Canada’s food and agriculture sectors and are looking forward to being one (of many) local partners in support of a robust and resilient Canadian food system.
What do you think are the most pressing food-related concerns facing the Middlesex-London region and its residents? Please share your ideas with us in the comments.