National Newswatch

Bee poll shows public awareness and confusion

Jul 3 2017 — Alex Binkley — A recently released poll conducted by Friends of the Earth Canada shows a strong public concern about bee health and a lack of understanding of the importance of wild pollinators. Its publication gave the Canadian Honey Council the opportunity to point out that honey bee colonies are at record levels across the country. The poll […]

Ambassador sticks up for Canadian farmers again

Jun 27 2017 — Alex Binkley — Ambassador David MacNaughton has once again intervened with American politicians to set the record straight on Canadian agriculture policy. In a letter to 10 U.S. Senators as well as senior ministers in Washington and Ottawa, MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., says claims Canada has wrongfully denied access to American poultry “is simply inaccurate.” Earlier […]

Mysterious E.coli outbreak hits grain industry

Jun 25 2017 — Alex Binkley — A string of flour product recalls this spring has cost the milling sector millions of dollars and costly research may still be needed to find the source of the contamination, say grain industry officials. The outbreak of E.coli 0121 is so mysterious that few people connected to the investigation are willing to discuss it on […]

MacAulay launches online consultation on food policy

May 30 2017 — Alex Binkley — More than a year and a half after Prime Minister Trudeau assigned him the task of developing a national food policy, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay has launched a public consultation on the issue. The 2015 mandate letter to the minister from Trudeau instructs him to “develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe […]

Food inspection reaches 20 with little notice

May 24 2017 — Alex Binkley — In this year of celebrating Canadian anniversaries, one has passed by with almost no notice. Well until Ron Doering pointed out that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which he helped create, passed its 20th anniversary in April. Doering led the team of federal officials who drafted the plan in 1995 to extract food safety duties […]

Getting Trudeau onside with agrifood growth measures

Apr 26 2017 — Alex Binkley — Time is of the essence in convincing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to create an Agrifood Growth Council and instruct government departments to collaborate in removing impediments to the growth in the farm and food sector. That is the consensus of representatives from the agrifood sector in the wake of the Powerhouse report released last week […]

Trump attack on Canadian dairy policy earns indirect rebuke

Apr 19 2017 — Alex Binkley — An attack on the Canadian dairy system by Donald Trump prompted the federal government to release a letter that says the facts cited by the American President are wrong and ignore reality. In a speech in Wisconsin, Trump said NAFTA is a “one-sided deal” that doesn’t let U.S. dairy farmers compete fairly because of the […]

Carbon tax could derail agrifood export boost

Apr 4 2017 — Alex Binkley — The federal government’s budget goal of boosting agrifood exports to $75 billion annually by 2025 could be derailed by its carbon pricing policy that doesn’t recognize what farmers have accomplished in recent years. As it’s now cast, the carbon pricing policy could place farmers “at competitive disadvantage compared to other leading food exporters,” Cam Dahl, […]

Agrifood receives plenty of attention in the federal budget

Mar 24 2017 — Alex Binkley — The moment Ron Bonnett read in the federal budget the government wants to boost agrifood exports to $75 billion by 2025, he knew his sector was finally in line for serious attention in Ottawa. “It told me the door was open to talking to government departments about the factors holding back our sector’s growth,” says […]

Finally some recognition for agriculture and food

Feb 16 2017 — Alex Binkley — Although it provides one in eight jobs in Canada and earns about 7% of the GDP, the agriculture and food sector gets little recognition from politicians and the public for its economic importance. It also has to contend with a public awareness that’s about on the level of the kid’s story Old MacDonald had a […]

Gord Miller (Wikimedia)

Defending biofuels pits Miller against economic heavyweights

Feb 6 2017 — Alex Binkley — Former Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller is taking on some financial heavyweights in his ongoing defence of government support for biofuels. In a report called Staying the Course, Miller blasts the Ecofiscal Commission for calling for an end to the federal and provincial biofuel mandates that require blending regular gas and ethanol because they’re too […]