Ag Policy Connection Ep. 8 — The future of federal sustainability and environmental policies

When it comes to agriculture and the environment, some people see agriculture as a solution, while others view it as a problem. And in politics, people with different perspectives and levels of awareness about farming often sit in the same caucus or cabinet, influencing where a party stands on environmental policies that affect agriculture.

Canada’s current Liberal government has focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture over the last nine years using a combination of carrots and sticks — the On-Farm Climate Action Fund would be an example of the carrot or incentive-based approach, while the carbon tax that applies to propane and natural gas used on farms in most provinces could be described as a stick.

What will these sustainability and environmental policies look like at the farm level in the future? What are the challenges politicians face in coming up with policies for agriculture that are effective? What’s government’s role in recognizing the solutions agriculture can provide while improving overall sustainability or moving toward climate targets?

This episode of the Ag Policy Connection explores these questions while bringing together three Members of Parliament who span Ottawa’s polarized political spectrum and the vast geography of Canadian agriculture. All three panelists are members of the House of Commons’ ag committee and are seen as voices of agriculture inside the Liberal, Conservative, and New Democrat caucuses, respectively:

– Kody Blois, chair of the House of Commons’ standing committee for agriculture and agri-food, Liberal MP for Kings-Hants, Nova Scotia;
– John Barlow, shadow minister for agriculture with the Conservatives, MP for Foothills, Alberta; and
– Alistair MacGregor, agriculture critic for the New Democrat Party, MP for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford on Vancouver Island, BC.

One of our guests asked if this was a ploy to get them to share their policy platforms ahead of the next federal election, and we’ll leave that for listeners to decide!

Check out the video below or listen in any podcast app as we explore the future of sustainability policies affecting farms from the federal political perspective on the Ag Policy Connection, brought to you by the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) and RealAgriculture:

Editor’s note: This episode was recorded on April 29, 2024, prior to the release of the Auditor General’s report on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s climate programs.

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