National Newswatch

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 […]

Food safety regulations proposed once again

Jan 30 2017 — Alex Binkley — Long overdue and much discussed proposals for modernizing food safety rules inspection will once again be theb subject of cross-country public consultations by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. CFIA posted its package of proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette on Jan 21 and will accept comments on them from the food industry and consumers until […]

MacAulay pitches importance of Canada-U.S. agrifood trade

Jan 17 2017 — Alex Binkley — In addition to high level meetings with the Trump takeover team, the Trudeau government intends to use cabinet ministers to pitch the importance of Canada-U.S. trade relations to American audiences. The basic message will be that the current system works fairly well. Improvements are always possible but no need for major changes. An example of […]

Heart issue forces Menzies out of CropLife

Jan 11 2017 — Alex Binkley — Heart problems have forced Ted Menzies, veteran farm leader and former federal cabinet minister, to resign as President and CEO of CropLife Canada after just three years in the post. While his appointment in 2014 was controversial coming months after leaving the Harper cabinet, he carefully avoided any conflict of interest between his new job […]

Garneau will be under plenty of scrutiny in 2017

Jan 4 2017 — Alex Binkley — Transport Minister Marc Garneau has laid out an ambitious agenda in his Transportation 2030 strategy and turning the initial cross country praise for it into ongoing support will be no easy task. While legislation to improve air travel drew a lot of media attention, for business groups the focus was on a bill the minister […]

Changes to foreign worker program crucial for rural Canada

Dec 27 2016 — Alex Binkley — Agrifood organizations have the support for the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses in hoping that initial changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) are the first steps to more sweeping reforms. CFIB President Dan Kelly said, “The artificial caps on the percentage of foreign labour may make sense in parts of Canada, but for […]

Less treatment could be the answer to AMR

Dec 14 2016 — Alex Binkley — A strategy to treat diseases in humans and animals to curb their virulence rather than wiping out the bacteria causing the illness might be the way to reduce if not overcome the mushrooming challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The goal of the strategy is to prevent bacteria from developing resistance to medicines, says Natalie Strynadka, […]