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New Agriculture Minister, same Liberal Problems

Posted on 15 August 2023 by Prairie Post


Making massive changes to his Cabinet is simply an attempt by Justin Trudeau to patch holes in his leaky, sinking ship. 

Many of these patches are recycled, tired, worn out and out of touch with everyday Canadians struggling with the Liberal-made cost-of-living crisis.

For example, Hon. Lawrence MacAulay is back as Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, a minister who once said, “farmers support the carbon tax”.

His record as Agriculture Minister speaks for itself including failures in trade negotiations where the Liberals surrendered Canada’s dairy market, relinquished our trade sovereignty to the United States, and cost Canadian producers tens-of-millions in lost market access. These are unprecedented failures in trade agreements. 

Trade failures continue with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), ratified in 2018 under this minister. As the UK negotiates to join the partnership, Canadian beef and pork producers are locked out of the UK market because the Liberals allowed unbalanced trade access for UK producers into Canadian markets. For example, Canadian beef exports to the UK are zero whereas UK imports into Canada are up 700%, but the Liberals have done nothing to defend Canadian interests and address this unprecedented gap. 

During his tenure as Agriculture Minister, Canadian farmers also saw Italy close its market to our wheat, India cut off access for Canadian peas and pulses, the introduction of controversial front of package labelling for Canadian food products, and the ideological redesign of the Canada Food Guide.

It was also under this minister the Liberal government enforced the first federal carbon tax. Minister MacAulay has twice voted against a Conservative bill to exempt Canadian farmers from this punishing tax, just as Minister Bibeau did before him. Clearly, MacAulay simply doesn’t want to see the connection between higher taxes and higher input costs leading to higher food costs at the grocery store. Food inflation is forcing millions of Canadians to food banks every single month and one in five Canadians are skipping meals because they cannot afford to put food on their tables. These are facts, highlighting how critical it is to lower the costs on Canadian farmers and food production, instead of burdening our producers with inflationary carbon taxes and regulatory red tape. 

These are just a few of the harmful policy decisions piled on Canadians when MacAulay was at the helm. 

However, not only has Minister MacAulay demonstrated a record of poor decisions and damaging actions to our sectors, but he has displayed a history of inaction when it counted most. 

In 2021 Minister Bibeau banned the export of Prince Edward Island potatoes devastating Island growers. MacAulay sat silently as farmers in his own riding struggled to stay afloat. 

If he did not fight for his own constituents during a crisis, how can farmers across Canada expect any different?

In contrast, Canada’s Conservatives have consistently brought forward common-sense policies to benefit Canadian farmers and consumers. These initiatives include Bill C-234, to exempt the carbon tax from natural gas and propane; Bill C-275 to protect biosecurity on farms; Bill C-280 to protect Canadian fruit and vegetable producers; Bill C-266 to eliminate the escalator tax on beer, wine and spirits; Bill C-208 to aid in farm succession; and eliminated warning labels on ground beef and pork. 

Our work is not done as we fight to eliminate the tariff on fertilizer, ensure policy and regulatory decisions are science-based, and reign in taxes and inflation to lower costs on farmers and consumers.

Canadian producers deserve a minister who will have a strong voice at the Cabinet table advocating on their behalf. As the Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security, I will continue to ensure the concerns of our farmers, ranchers, processors and agri-food businesses are heard. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre will continue to hold this Liberal government accountable for its actions. Canada’s Conservatives will be the partner Canadian agriculture needs and stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers to reach their full potential. Canadian farmers and consumers simply cannot afford the Liberals any longer.

John Barlow, Member of Parliament for Foothills 
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security 

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