OTTAWA – With canola prices dropping and relationships with trusted trading partners eroding the Liberal government must take definitive action to address the canola crisis because Canadian farmers can no longer afford to pay for Trudeau’s mistakes.
It is clear the Liberal government does not understand the urgency of this crisis.
Producers are voicing their anxiety regarding the deteriorating relationship with China, which has resulted in the refusal of China to import Canadian canola seed.
The price of canola has dropped by more than $1 per bushel due to the embargo meaning the value of canola in the bins has dropped by almost $1 billion and new contracts are not being signed.
Across Canada farmers are making critical decisions on what to plant, strategic plans carefully developed years in advance. However, all of these plans are in jeopardy as a result of the Liberal’s bungled foreign affairs.
Without a doubt, the Canada-China canola crisis is a national economic emergency, that must be dealt with now. It is shameful the Liberals continue to block our attempts to get answers for Canadians on this issue.
Producers in western Canada are frustrated and angry the Prime Minister has not outlined a strategy to resolve this situation. In fact, they question if the Liberals consider the canola crisis a priority at all.
Their doubt is understandable.
For example, on Friday the Liberal majority on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food refused to have the ministers of Trade, Agriculture and Foreign Affairs appear at committee to address the canola situation. It was the same at Trade Committee as the Liberals blocked the appearance of the Foreign Affairs minister.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said she does not think the situation is serious enough to warrant a delegation to China. When asked for his plan of action Trudeau said he is “seriously considering a high-level delegation to China.”
Seriously considering? Not serious enough?
What more needs to happen before Trudeau comes to the realization losing 40% of your canola market is a crisis and needs to be taken seriously?
Canola is a $27 billion industry in Canada impacting 45,000 producers and 250,000 jobs across the country.
Instead of focusing on repairing the damage to Canada’s reputation on the global stage, a reputation the Liberals themselves tarnished since taking office, Trudeau is preoccupied trying to salvage his own reputation from scandal and corruption in the SNC-Lavalin affair. Trudeau’s failure to do his job as Prime Minister has jeopardized 250,000 jobs and the livelihoods of 45,000 farmers and their families.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been clear, the decision for China to block canola seed shipments from Canada is not a quality issue. Canada produces the highest quality canola in the world, and any accusations attempting to discredit Canada’s canola are false and baseless.
The issue is not the quality of Canadian product, but Trudeau’s weak leadership on the international stage and his failure to deal with the threats posed by the Chinese government.
This is not a quality issue, it is a political issue; therefore, it demands a political solution.
The dispute with China is not a one-off, more concerning this is a disturbing trend for the Liberals.
Thanks to Trudeau’s tickle trunk tour through India, Canadian farmers lost one of our most important markets for peas and pulses and the Prime Minister broke his promise to resolve the fumigation issue. As a result, Canadian pea exports to India have dropped from more than $1.5 billion under a Conservative government to $150 million.
The trend continued as Canadian farmers have lost their barley market to Saudi Arabia and Italy continues to block Canadian Durham wheat.
Whether it is failures on trade, a punitive carbon tax, front of package labelling or attacks on the family farm, Canadian agriculture continually pays for Liberal mistakes.
Liberals are saying Conservatives are “fearmongering” on the canola crisis, which is ridiculous. Canola growers have been loud and clear; they are extremely concerned because if the Chinese blockade is not resolved there will be profound ramifications on their families, their future and their well-being.
It is time for the Liberals to realize this is a crisis, show they will fight for Canadian farmers and take action on this file. Canada’s canola sector cannot wait.