Ag ministers kick off meeting in Vancouver

VANCOUVER — Canadian agriculture ministers began their annual meeting
here today without Saskatchewan minister Lyle Stewart and most of the
maritime ministers.

Stewart was expected to attend but his office said Wednesday he had to
cancel due to personal appointments. Officials from the province are
here, however.

Ministers are receiving updates on a number of issues including trade,
cannabis and the year-long business risk management review.

After the annual industry-ministers roundtable hosted by the Canadian
Federation of Agriculture yesterday, federal minister Lawrence MacAulay

said he wouldn’t preclude any of the discussion by offering his opinions
on those issues.

“What I can’t do as the federal minister of agriculture is come out and
indicate what we’re going to do,” he told reporters. “This works well
when everybody works together.”

CFA president Ron Bonnett said the BRM review should continue because
producers need effective risk management tools in light of the
escalating trade war.

He said there has to be some sort of contingency plan in the event the
trade war gets out of hand and said governments are encouraged to look
at the “what-ifs,” such as how to deal with direct subsidies to American
farmers or what alternative markets could be found.

MacAulay would not comment on whether additional industry support would
be forthcoming if necessary.

Ministers wrap up their meeting tomorrow with a news conference
scheduled for 12:30 Pacific time.


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