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“A Liberal government will be there for flexible, bankable farm programs built from the ‘farm up, not Ottawa down,’” Mr. Ignatieff said at an announcement with Liberal candidate for Compton-Stanstead William Hogg. “That means we’ll have flexible funding for programs such as the Assurance stabilization des revenues agricoles (ASRA) in Quebec and the Ontario Risk Management Program, where Stephen Harper has told farmers ‘no.’

 

What do you think? Here is their Campaign information:

 

Rural Canada Matters

Rural Canada puts food on tables and drives the resource wealth of our country.

But too many Canadians are leaving rural communities because they can’t find jobs or access essential services like healthcare, internet, or education.

A Liberal government will commit to narrowing the gap between rural and urban Canada starting with new measures in five major areas.

 

Among the five issues mentioned are:

Rural Broadband

Canada’s economy is increasingly knit together through the internet. As jobs, education, and communication become more dependent on the internet, Canadians without access or relevant skills will be left behind.

 

In 2006, Canada’s Telecommunications Review Panel recommended the federal government achieve 100 percent high-speed internet connectivity by 2010. This goal was not achieved under the Conservative government. According to the CRTC, in 2009 close to 800,000 Canadian households (20 percent of all rural Canadians) still could not access high-speed internet. Although Canada ranked second in the world in internet connectivity in 2000, we’ve now fallen to tenth place. This threatens our economic competitiveness and quality of life.

Using proceeds from the upcoming spectrum auction slated for 2012, a Liberal government will set a goal of 100 percent high-speed internet connectivity of at least 1.5 MB/sec for all Canadian communities within three years of being elected. This commitment will increase the availability of affordable line and wireless connectivity, and improve mobile phone coverage in rural areas.

Canada’s First National Food Policy

Safe Food: Strengthening inspection and enforcement

Canadians expect all foods within Canada to meet the same quality, safety and environmental sustainability standards, regardless of whether that food is produced at home or abroad.

 

A Liberal government will:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA), Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC),to ensure effective coordination of Canada’s food safety system tominimize risks and assure Canadians that the food on their tables is safe.
  • Invest an additional $50 million over four years to improve food inspection by the CFIA and to ensure the same food safety standards set for Canadian producers are applied to foods imported into Canada.

Sustainable Farm Incomes:
Supporting innovation and protecting against risk

Sustainable farm incomes, rural infrastructure and research and innovation are keys to ensuring Canada maintains a strong and vibrant food production system. Unfortunately, Canada’s farmers face a maze of confusing and unpredictable programs. A Liberal government will work in partnership with Canadian farmers to build farm programs from the farm up, not Ottawa down, including:

  • A “Clean Slate Committment”, for a complete review of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programming in partnership with farmers within the first year of a Liberal government, including business risk management programs, agricultural research, innovation and environmental programs.
  • Restoring AgriFlex to its original mission of offering regionally flexible programs including practical, bankable business risk management to help farmers meet their costs of production. This could include programs such as the Risk Management Program in Ontario, Assurance stabilization des revenues agricoles in Quebec, market price insurance and improved crop insurance in the West, or a Buy Atlantic program in the Atlantic provinces.

Environmental Farmland Stewardship

Canadians know that our farms and our food are tied to our natural environment, and that a clean environment for the future means investing in clean energy and farmland stewardship. As part of our Clean Slate Commitment, a Liberal government will:

  • Work with Canada’s farmers to strengthen Canada’s Environmental Farm Plans, support improved fertilizer and pesticide management, and introduce new environmental goods and services programs that reward farmers for environmentally-sustainable initiatives such as setting aside land for wildlife habitats or carbon sequestration.
  • Invest in the development of clean energy from Canadian farms – biomass,wind, solar and geothermal energy – as part of the Liberal commitment to quadruple Canada’s clean energy production.

International Leadership: Opening new markets and building capacity.

Steady growth in fair, rules-based trade in agri-food will continue to be of vital interest to Canada. Our future competitiveness and opportunities for export growth rest on expanding our share of high-value markets where our reputation for quality puts us ahead. We also have a role to play in ensuring that some of the world’s poorest nations – particularly in Africa – have access to safe, healthy food, and can participate in international trade in agri-food. Therefore, a Liberal government will:

  • Expand export opportunities by building Canada’s international brand as a producer of the highest-quality foods and beverages in the world.
  • Support capacity-building in local food production and food security among world’s most vulnerable nations, particularly in Africa, by reassessing the Canadian International Development Agency’s priority nations list, and focusing on initiatives such as micro-lending, research, trade-related capacity building, and enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.

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CFA's Election Messaging

Farm families across Canada -200,000 strong - are a large part of the rural vote. They will be following the campaign closely and insisting parties include the key messages included in this document as part of their party platforms.

National Agriculture Leaders Debate, April 11

CFA will host a National Agriculture Leader's debate with Agriculture Minister Ritz and the agricultural critics from the Bloc Québécois, Liberal, NDP and Green party. The event will take place Monday, April 11 from 11-1 at the Château Laurier. Media and observers are welcomed to attend. The event can also be viewed live by podcast at www.cfa-fca.ca.

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