As you enjoy summer, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide a brief update on what our Conservative Government has accomplished on your behalf over the past session of Parliament.
Fifteen months ago, Canadians made a historic decision in selecting a strong, stable, national, majority Conservative Government to help lead the country through a time of global economic fragility. Since then, our Government has worked hard and made critical choices resulting in accomplishments that are making a difference in the lives of all Canadians.
A GOVERNMENT FOCUSED ON THE GROWTH OF THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
As I proudly represent Canadians of Vegreville-Wainwright, I am constantly aware of the significant importance agriculture plays within our local communities and economy. That’s why I never hesitate to bring my constituents up to speed on what our Government has done to support the agricultural sector in an ever-changing, globalized economy.
Just in the past year, Canadian farmers have much to be proud of. On August 1st, our Government’s action to end the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board came into effect, through the Marketing Freedom to Grain Farmers Act. Now, Canadian farmers have the freedom to market their grain, wheat, durum and barley to the buyer of their choice. As our Government has always said, marketing freedom will build a stronger economy by attracting investment, encouraging innovation, and by creating value-added jobs.
The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act is just one measure among many that our Government has implemented, with the development of agriculture in mind. It is all part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan – a far-reaching Plan that ensures Canada’s recovery applies to all areas of the economy, including the agricultural sector. The following are but the major accomplishments, achieved in the first year of Conservative Majority Government, for Canadian farmers:
- funding the transition of the Canadian Grain Commission to a more sustainable funding model;
- funding the University of British Columbia to invest in green agriculture research;
- strengthening agroforestry co-operation with the U.S., creating new opportunities for Canadian producers and agricultural researchers;
- investing in the Canadian Swine Exporters Association (CSEA) to increase its international marketing and promotion of Canadian purebred swine genetics;
- delivering $50 million in 2011 over two years to the Agriculture Innovation Initiative to support knowledge and increased commercialization of agricultural innovations;
- investing in the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS) to improve the profitability and competitiveness of the beef industry at home and abroad;
- investing in the creation of new markets to export dairy genetics at the Diary Farmers of Canada annual policy conference in 2012;
- reaching an agreement on the export of Canadian live cattle to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2011 – this market is worth up to $40 million;
- providing $24 million in 2011 over two years to extend the Initiative for the Control of Diseases in the Hog Industry;
- opening the Vietnamese market to Canadian live breed cattle, sheep and goats in 2011 – this market is worth up to $50 million; and
- providing $100 million in 2011 over five years to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to improve food inspection capacity.
Our Conservative Government is eager to assist the agricultural sector into a new age of economic competitiveness at home and around the world – and not to turn back the clock. While the Opposition continues to stonewall beneficial policy for Canadian farmers, I take great pride in voting alongside this Government – a Government that believes in expanded market freedom for farmers, access to the latest agricultural technology, and an increased emphasis on research, in which Canada can play a significant part.
We will continue to stand up for the economic rights of Canadian farmers, and work to preserve an all-important role for farmers in Canada’s domestic and international affairs.
I wish you an enjoyable week.
Leon Benoit, MP