As the dust settles from one of the most intense, surprising and caustic election campaigns in Canadian history, it’s hard to see what all the impacts for farmers will be.
How will it handle agriculture issues? Who will it favour? Who will it ignore? Will it make agriculture a priority or ignore it? Will farmers like the new agriculture minister?
That will take quite a while to discover.
But to me there’s one big, positive take-home for Canadian farmers: TPP has been preserved.
That deal is almost certainly good for most Western Canadian farmers, since they are export-dependant. And it saves supply management for the foreseeable future, even if it slightly shrinks the market. Since the danger for supply management farmers was that supply management would be crippled or scrapped, the Trans Pacific Partnership deal’s acceptance of the continuing existence of supply management is a big deal.
Thomas Mulcair’s NDP might not have stuck with the TPP if they had been elected. (Remember when that seemed possible, a few weeks ago?) He said they wouldn’t feel bound by the deal.
Justin Trudeau said nothing like that. He said his Liberal party is pro-trade. His demanding to see all the details of the deal before determining whether or not it was something good for Canada seemed to me a way to punt the issue beyond the election. Now the election’s done and the pressure’s off, it’s hard to imagine him rejecting the deal. There’s too much at stake. (Unless there really is some devil in the details that is impossible for a Liberal government to support . . . )
TPP is far from a done deal. It has to be approved across the deal-zone, and in every country politics come to play. But Canada won’t likely be the country that takes it down.
Beyond that, it’s hard to imagine what a Trudeau government will actually mean for farmers. We’ll have to stay tuned to see.
To see all of our election coverage visit Western Producer’s Election 2015 page