Ralph Goodale, federal minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, heard boos and jeers from delegates at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities convention in Saskatoon last week.
As Goodale was introduced, some delegates booed at the mention of the Trudeau name, both Pierre and Justin.
It prompted SARM president Ray Orb to call for respect from his elected assembly.
During Goodale’s address, followed by a question-and-answer session, the Regina-Wascana MP defended his government’s actions on canola and carbon tax.
“We are as frustrated and as concerned as farmers are about this (canola export) situation. We have asked the Chinese to verify their accusation. To date they have not presented any information that would prove the allegation and we will pursue the issue on a science-based foundation every way we possibly can to get those markets back open for Canada,” he said.
“It’s very important to keep this within the confines of a science-based discussion because on the basis of science, Canada is clean as a whistle.”
China has suspended the licence of grain company Richardson to ship canola to that country, citing a pest found in one shipment. The move is widely been seen as a reprisal against Canada following its arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou following an extradition request from the United States.
SARM delegates also pressed the minister on whether farmers will be exempt from the carbon tax for fuel used on farms and bought at card lock facilities.
“That’s very much the federal government’s commitment that the use of gasoline and diesel on farms is exempt from the fuel charge. That issue absolutely must be corrected before the 1st of April,” Goodale said.
Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr experienced a warmer reception when he met with SARM delegates.
Like Goodale, Carr’s talking points focused on the canola dispute with China as a scientific evidence-based problem.
“The government is fully aware of the importance of this export product. We know that within the next 60 days, decisions will have to be made by producers and we’re working diligently and as quickly as we can to get some clarity from Chinese officials that they can show us where the problem is and we’ll continue to apply that pressure both at the Canadian embassy in Beijing and also at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa,” he said.