Making the Farm Vote Count
September 9, 2008- Canadian farmers are calling on all political parties to make agriculture a priority in their policy platforms leading up to the Oct. 14 federal election.
Members of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) are working hard to put Canadian agriculture on the election map as federal candidates head out on the hustings. Across the country, farmers will be contacting candidates to make certain that their concerns are prominent in discussions and debates.
"The importance of the rural vote cannot be understated," said Laurent Pellerin, CFA 1st Vice-President. "Farm families make up a large contingent of rural voters and they will be listening closely to hear what candidates have to say when it comes to agriculture."
Although the majority of farmers live and work in rural areas, CFA members will also reach out to urban voters during this election.
"While farmers are at the core of rural Canada, we'll also emphasize that urban voters benefit from a healthy agriculture sector through not only a high-quality food supply, but also through a range of socioeconomic contributions. Agriculture represents 8 per cent of Canada's GDP."
In this election, CFA will highlight the following policy priority themes:
Business Risk Management
Farmers seek responsive and flexible risk management tools to provide stability for farmers to mitigate uncontrollable business factors. CFA's AgriFlex proposal would provide such support by responding to regional and commodity-specific needs.
Public Goods and Services
From environmental stewardship to food safety, farmers should be recognized for their many contributions that benefit Canadian society as a whole.
Ensuring the strategic growth of the sector requires action on a range of issues such as food labeling, research and development, grain transportation regulations, and taxation. Farmers also seek a Cooperative Investment Plan (CIP), consisting of tax incentives to encourage investment in agricultural cooperatives, help co-ops raise capital, and direct investment back into rural communities.
While WTO negotiations are on hold, farmers require governments to pursue Canada's balanced trade position in bilateral and multilateral agreements. CFA members seek a reduction in global export subsidies, increased market access, and continued support of our domestic marketing systems. Also of major concern are the trade-distorting levels of domestic support in the U.S. and other countries.
CFA looks forward to examining the agricultural proposals of each party, and will be supporting its members in making farmers' voices heard over the course of the campaign. Among other activities, CFA will host a national debate on agriculture, which will take place in Guelph, Ontario at the end of September. Details on this event will be available shortly. CFA will also be releasing its "Cast a vote for agriculture" booklet which provides a synopsis of current issues of importance to farmers.