September 11th, 2020
NDP MPs ALISTAIR MACGREGOR, LAUREL COLLINS, AND GORD JOHNS WRITE TO FEDERAL CABINET MINISTERS TO ADDRESS FOOD SECURITY ISSUES.
OTTAWA - NDP Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food Alistair MacGregor (MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford), Critic for Environment and Climate Change Laurel Collins (MP for Victoria), and Critic for Small Business Gord Johns (MP for Courtenay–Alberni), in advance of Speech from the Throne, set for September 23, called on the federal government to re-orient Canada’s conventional farming practices.
In a joint letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Minister of Finance, MP MacGregor, MP Collins, and MP Johns shared the concerns of Canada’s agricultural producers and the millions of Canadians who have reported living in households experiencing food insecurity.
In the letter, the NDP MPs addressed the intersection of Canada’s agriculture industry, food insecurity, and environmental sustainability, writing “These issues are the culmination of accumulative factors in the way we produce food and think about our environment, and the way we tackle these competing challenges cannot be achieved while operating in silos.”
The letter also advocated for the federal government to act as a global leader through the introduction of programs that incentivize the utilization of farming methods, such as agroecological intensification of existing farmland and the adoption of new technologies to significantly reduce the use of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.
“Local producers are a critical part to supporting local economies and small businesses across the country,” said Johns. “The Liberals have an opportunity in the Throne Speech to support agriculture workers and ensure that farmers can be resilient to climate change and the shift towards a greener economy.”
The Vancouver Island MPs noted that, through farm biodiversity and sustainability techniques, a well-managed hectare of land can sequester between 10 and 20 tons of carbon from the atmosphere per year. These measures, the MPs attested, can fortify community resiliency and increase crop yields that are required to feed Canada’s growing population.
Sustainable farming techniques have been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve biodiversity,” said Collins. “By incentivizing sustainable agriculture, farmers can play a vital role in helping us meet our climate targets and our commitments to protect our land, air and water for future generations.”
MP Alistair MacGregor, MP Laurel Collins, and MP Gord Johns assured their constituents and Canadians that they will be paying close attention to the priorities set out by the Liberal Government in the upcoming Throne Speech and will be seeking affirmation that these critical areas will be addressed.
“In a country as wealthy as ours and even with the amount of food we are capable of producing, there are still many food-insecure areas and populations that do not have access to safe, nutritious and wholesome food”, said MacGregor. “It is my sincere hope that, while putting the needs of our farmers first and foremost, the priorities set out by the government in the Throne Speech will also address these important issues.”