RealAg Politics, Ep 1: Recap of the national ag leaders debate

It’s time for a brand new show…which means time for a brand new introduction!

On RealAg Politics we are going to really hone in on the political scene, ag policy, bring it all together, and connect the dots for you.

There seems like no better time to launch the first episode, after the big political day we had Thursday: the English Leaders Debate, and the National Ag Leaders Debate.

If you missed the ag debate, moderated by our own Shaun Haney, check it out here.

Co-hosts Shaun Haney and Kelvin Heppner take you through a wild ride this pilot episode. You won’t want to miss it!


Shaun Haney, founder, RealAgriculture

  • The farm groups really honestly highlighted what was missing from the debate, which was terrific
  • Overall a terrific experience getting to moderate the Ag Leaders Debate

Lyndsey Smith, RealAgriculture

  • fabulous debate as we had each individual being incredibly well versed in the questions they needed to answer
  • wish they covered nitrogen emissions
  • going forward, emissions targets and access to nitrogen fertilizer could be a really key feature

Kelvin Heppner, RealAgriculture

  • a lot of talking points and agreement between the participants
  • trade and prairie representation was missing 
  • good to get these parties on the record on grocery code of conduct, agri-recovery rollout, etc

Erin Gowriluk, Grain Growers of Canada

  • there were a couple of key issues — wish we had twice as much time as we did
  • could’ve had more conversation around trade
  • PMRA review that came out just before election was announced would’ve been an interesting item in the debate
  • we need to talk regulatory reform
  • reigning industry and government into a certain conversation
  • ships need to be loaded in a more timely matter
  • lack of representation from the Prairies

Mary Robinson, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

  • lively and respectable debate
  • seeing what little attention agriculture got in the leaders debate makes the ag debate even more important
  • we need to make sure we aren’t having any geopolitical trade barriers
  • grocery code of conduct is incredibly important, especially coming from a horticultural area
  • where does agriculture and food start? if you close your nutrient loop, it doesn’t end or start

Bob Lowe, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association

  • the one thing that was a big disappointment was the lack trade coverage
  • research funding could’ve been discussed further too
  • too much private incentive
  • yes, trespassing on a farm is illegal, however, that currently doesn’t hold enough teeth
  • we’re rocking with slaughter numbers, but processing capacity and diversity capacity didn’t come up in the debate
  • we have enough processing capacity — it just might not be in the right places
  • we need an investment in surge capacity

Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, Western Canadian Wheat Growers

  • loved that we had an agriculture debate prior to the federal leaders debate
  • it feels like the leaders are tripping over themselves for the moral high ground when it comes to climate change
  • agriculture at the leaders debate wouldn’t be helpful, because they would then be putting opinions on subjects they don’t really understand
  • people who are influential in a discussion should be a part of a debate, so a party like the PPC should’ve been a part of the conversation

Meagan Murdoch, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

  • didn’t learn a lot from the debate
  • although the conversation was interesting, the surface was just scraped
  • rural childcare was glaringly absent
  • mental health should’ve had a bigger segment, particularly after the last year we’ve had
  • it comes down to electing members of parliament that actually understand agriculture, to be the ones at the decision making tables
  • enjoyed that the moderators held their feet to the fire
  • The NDP and the Green Party “won” the debate

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