What Would Your Ballot Look Like if You Voted Strictly on Ag Policy?

Where to mark the ballot is a tough decision for many us, when we start considering party platforms, the appeal of individual candidates as representatives, and the trustworthiness of party leaders. There are all kinds of issues to think about, from immigration to health, the niqab to the CRA, taxes to trade.

And, for those of us in agriculture, trade has been top of mind, with yesterday’s signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership hitting headlines across the world (party releases in the news included below).

Bloc Quebecois Statement
Translated by Google Translate

Here is our preliminary reaction as outlined by Gilles Duceppe:

We have to be aware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement concluded by the Conservative government in Atlanta. This type of agreement is very complex and we have not finished the shelling.

We are disappointed.

A gap of 3.25% in the dairy market, it may seem modest, but for milk producers in Quebec, it’s really a lot.

When adding what has already been granted to Europe, this is really a blow to Quebec’s agricultural model.

We estimate that dairy farmers could lose the equivalent of 25 thousand dollars a year.

You should know that in this agreement, it is Quebec that will pay the highest price.

These are our milk producers who suffer the hardest blow.

The Conservative government promises to compensate, to ensure the stability of their income for the next 10 years.

If this commitment was required by the government, we could at least consider that the income of dairy farmers remains intact.

But the Conservatives had made the same promise to our cheese producers, hit hard by the agreement with Europe.

For now, this promise remained unfulfilled.

We will proceed with further analysis of the agreement before pressing or not implementation of law.

One of the conditions will be full compliance with the Conservative government’s commitments.

If Quebec milk producers are not fully compensated;

If the stability of their income is not fully protected, the Bloc will oppose vigorously the agreement.

Conservative Party Statement
Today, 28 years after Canada concluded our first-ever free-trade agreement with the United States, Canada and 11 other founding nations concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a 12-nation market of nearly 800 million customers and is the largest free-trade agreement in history.

A re-elected Conservative Government will ratify and implement this historic agreement. As with all trade agreements, TPP will be subject to full Parliamentary review and approval before it is passed and brought into force.

The choice is clear. Beginning with Canada’s first free-trade agreement with the United States that was concluded under Brian Mulroney 28 years ago, Conservative governments in Canada have created 99% of Canada’s free-trade access in the world. Only Conservatives have a solid track record and the experience needed to continue to open new markets for Canadian goods and services, in order to create new, well-paying jobs, grow Canada’s economy, and secure our long-term prosperity.

Green Party Statement
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and candidate (Saanich-Gulf Islands) reacted to Canadians’ concerns about the Trans Pacific Partnership, following farmers’ protests in Ottawa yesterday.

“The Green Party is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),” stated May. “It is an Investor State agreement that threatens Canada’s sovereignty. In 2012 we signed a joint statement of Green Party parliamentarians throughout the region to express our serious concern at the fundamentally undemocratic and non-transparent nature of the TPP agreement. The TPP negotiations are yet another disturbing example of Harper’s pattern of unaccountable, secretive, and undemocratic practices.”

“We must protect Canadian dairy farmers and auto manufacturers,” continued May. “Canadians clearly don’t agree with the TPP. Yesterday, we saw a demonstration that included dairy farmers from Quebece outraged over the TPP. Again today, dairy farmers in Prince Edward Island are protesting.”

Paul Manly, campaigning to win a seat in the riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith and the Green Party International Trade critic, continued: “Elected Green MPs will work collaboratively with the next minority government to do a full-scale global review of all investor-state agreements.”

“We must revise and improve trade agreements to rebalance rights of democracies and reduce global corporate rule.”

Liberal Party Statement
The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), established in principle:

“The Liberal Party of Canada strongly supports free trade, as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, create good-paying jobs, and provide choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it. Liberals will take a responsible approach to thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Harper Conservatives have failed to be transparent through the entirety of the negotiations – especially in regards to what Canada is conceding in order to be accepted into this partnership.

“The government has an obligation to be open and honest about the negotiation process, and immediately share all the details of any agreement. Canadians deserve to know what impacts this agreement will have on different industries across our country. The federal government must keep its word and defend Canadian interests during the TPP’s ratification process – which includes defending supply management, our auto sector, and Canadian manufacturers across the country.

If the Liberal Party of Canada earns the honour of forming a government after October 19th, we will hold a full and open public debate in Parliament to ensure Canadians are consulted on this historic trade agreement.”

NDP Statement
NDP candidates Erin Selby (Saint-Boniface—Saint-Vital) and Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé) today outlined the NDP’s concerns around the negative impact of Stephen Harper’s secret TPP deal.

The Conservatives negotiated the TPP agreement in secrecy and without a mandate. And despite serious concerns being raised about Canadians’ access to generic drugs, as well as the future of our dairy industry, Justin Trudeau said he will support Stephen Harper’s deal without having seen it.

“New Democrats do not agree with a deal that could mean dramatic increases in the price of life-saving medication,” said Selby. “Already, one out of ten Canadians can’t afford to take the drugs they’re prescribed by their doctors. Stephen Harper’s deal will only make it harder for generic drugs to reach market – that is bad news for all Canadians.”

An NDP government will protect supply management so Canadians can continue to purchase the home-grown, affordable dairy products they rely on to feed their families.

“Our dairy farmers have been providing quality, safe milk products for generations. With his TPP deal, Stephen Harper recklessly made this bedrock industry more vulnerable,” said Brosseau. “Promising compensation instead of defending farmers is a misguided strategy, especially when the compensation is inadequate to protect the industry.”

More and more Canadians are raising concerns over Harper’s secret TPP deal. Thousands of have already sent a message to Stephen Harper that they don’t want a deal that threatens Canadian jobs, families, communities.

Considering the parties’ views of the industry, the agricultural leaders debate and the parties’ responses to the signing of the TPP, how would you vote on October 19, if you were only considering agriculture policy?

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