Tory platform includes grain act, CGC

A Conservative government would modernize the Canada Grain Act and Canadian Grain Commission, according to a list of promises in the party platform released Oct. 11.

Leader Andrew Scheer announced the platform in Tsawassen, B.C., and while he didn’t address agriculture and rural issues directly he did say the carbon levy would be eliminated.

He would also remove the GST from home heating costs.

He said Justin Trudeau and the Liberals came to power four years ago on promises of sunny ways and positive politics but those haven’t materialized.

“Better days are coming,” he said, as he promised to make life more affordable for all Canadians.

For farmers, the Conservatives plan to return $130 million in user fees that farmers overpaid to the CGC.

“We will make sure that the Canada Grain Act and the CGC align with modern agricultural practices, global market requirements and the needs of our farmers,” the plan says.

The platform says it will reduce red tape for farmers, particularly at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

“We will add competitiveness as a key component of its mandate, require that it work more transparently with those it regulates, encourage regulatory innovation and harmonization with international trading partners, and ensure that it has sufficient resources to deliver on its mandate,” it says.

Scheer would task his agriculture minister to develop a strategy, with industry, to address the industry’s labour shortages.

He promised help for farmers hit by market uncertainty and continued work on AgriStability to make it more useful.

“To determine the best way to help farmers and agri-food business work through current market uncertainty, we will convene a meeting with farm groups to assess the damage and determine how to help farmers get through this difficult time.”

Supply-managed sectors can count on the promised compensation and continued protection.

“As prime minister, Andrew Scheer will not put supply management on the table in any future trade negotiations,” the platform said.

The Conservatives said they would apply for BSE negligible risk status next year. They would also postpone the implementation of the humane transport regulations to make sure they are based on “complete evidence.”

Scheer said the Parliamentary Budget Office fully costed the platform and a balanced budget can be expected by 2024-25.

“Our Conservative platform is full of real concrete measures that will help Canadian families save,” he said.

It does include more than $50 billion in spending cuts.

A universal tax cut, tax-free maternity benefits, tax credits for children’s art and fitness, as well as a Green Home Renovation Tax Credit, are among other promises.

The Conservative plan also says it will take the fight against climate change global by providing industry incentives to develop technology that reduces emissions and can be shared with higher emitters.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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