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If I were Ag Minister Ritz....I would "DO" the following...Not much mention of Agriculture in the Throne Speech. Comments?

Here is a link to the text from the Throne Speech.





What would you do if you were Agriculture Minister Ritz....what priorities would you have and where would you allocate the money/resources of the federal Agriculture Ministry.


The Farms.com Team.





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That was a very unfortunate commentary interfacing free market enterprise (barley vote) and supply managed system in a combined statement. It sent a bewildering mixed signal intermingled with a sense of separation of equality between farmers.

Its' as if the Throne speech sent a subtle divisive message to agriculture just ahead of the international economic discussions in Toronto this June.

What would I do if I was Minister Ritz:

1. I would find my backbone and stand up in the best interests of farmers.

2. I would pursue the conclusions of General Auditor Frasers' audit of CAIS (May/07) whereby it was found that the farm programs were not in compliance of FIPA. If there is judicious cause.... expand the audit for a complete and comprehensive operational evaluation of the Ministry.

How can Minister Ritz ensure the substantive right of the public interests' when peer reviewed legally required audits to vindicate and validate their fiduciary interests have not been performed?
If I were Minister Ritz. In no particular order:

Short term:
- Continue to support the biofuels sector in conjunction with the NRC and Industry Canada.
- Widen the AgriInvest to 20% as opposed to 15%
- Establish a program in the Agri Suite for smoothing out price fluctuations in non-supply managed commodities
- While respecting the desire to continue to reduce trade barriers, establish that food products imported must prove that they have been held to the same quality standards as Canadian producers, and while a tariff may not be levied a 'Low quality Tax' may

Long term:
- work on establishing a new perception of Agriculture for the public. Instead of seeing the ministry of Agriculture as being for farmers, see it instead as the base of Canadian freedom. In so doing it can be tied into the biggest ministries.

For example, you cannot have an autonomous country that cannot feed itself, supporting food producers is about maintaining our freedom, Preventative Health Care through better nutrition, a shared campaign with the Health Ministry. More training for future generations, tying into the Education Ministry. Through biofuels and bio-plastics and other home grown renewables less reliance on hostile nations for our energy supply, this ties to Energy, Defence, Industry and Employment. With this type of relationship it could soon be shown that Agriculture is in fact the biggest ministry and should be the first order of business for the government.
Hmmmm, interesting predicament I would be in if i woke up to find myself in Ritz's shoes.

First of all I would ditch my old Reform Party handlers that are determined to undermine any hope of progress the CPC hopes to gain in rural Ontario, especially when any viable alternative shows up next election day. I would select a national council of advisors for each of the production sectors in Canada and set a clear direction for Canadian agriculture well into the future...not just meandering aimlessly with no clear direction or vision.

This would be followed by stashing my well worn travelling suitcase into the closet so that I could spend time gaining my Ministry back from the musical chair playing bureaucrats that have made an art of obfuscating and creating only an impression of being busy working for Canadian agriculture. I would attempt to restore some credibility and sense of purpose within AAFC...in other words start making people within AAFC accountable and invigorated by having staff clearly live the vision outlined above. Armed with this vision I would be a force around Cabinet and the PMO to restore funding to AAFC making it a lead Ministry rather than a dumping ground.

Regardless, I would start putting Farmers First in practice rather than in only mere words. I would start by growing a spine and stand up to the PMO, become a visible force around Cabinet, show farmers some basic respect and courtesy, and if I disagree at least explain why rather than resort to childish amateur rebuffs....and after the dust settled, realize that at least, I showed some integrity and honesty. In other words, I would start showing that I really did have some leadership skills about me.

Failing the above, I would realize just how truly in over my head I am, and, not having the balls to resign before incurring more damage to the industry, I would at least get out into all areas of the country to TRULY listen to ALL farmers (not just party faithful at invited small soirees). In this way I would educate myself on the issues unique to certain sectors as well as the ones common across the industry. Armed with this background I would be in a position of strength to take control of my Ministry.

I truly would put Farmer First!!!
If I were Ritz....I would figure out a way to cut off food to the politicians for a day...remind them about the importance of agriculture and food to them personally and to the Canadian economy. I think they forget that this is the economic engine for all of rural Canada.

Then we need to think of agriculture as a strategic sector of our economy and fight for each of the sectors in a proactive manner.

We import alot of manufactured products from USA, Japan, China and Europe - that gives us some significant negotiating power when we are at the trade table....especially now when our Cdn dollar is strong and our economy attractive.

We want access to markets and others to cut their subsidies and stop dumping cheap food onto the Canadian market.

I believe we can compete head to head on an equal playing field. Farmers may need some support at times when economics shift quickly such as the rise in the Canadian dollar and very low global grain and meat prices....Ritz needs to find the money and defend our farms and people.

That is what I would do

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