Despite enjoying the support of a high proportion of western canola growers, Conservative party leader Scheer has sounded a hawkish rather than conciliatory note when talking about China.
 | Screencap via Twitter/@AndfrewScheer

Finding balance on China

If China’s blocking of Canadian canola is intended to make Canadian leaders more submissive to its demands, opposition leader Andrew Scheer’s foreign policy suggests the opposite has occurred. Despite enjoying the support of a high proportion of western canola growers, Conservative party leader Scheer has sounded a hawkish rather than conciliatory note when talking about […] Read more

if farmers are designing their operations to be multi-decade factories to produce crops and animals for booming Chinese demand, they need to keep in mind that this booming demand might never appear.  |  REUTERS/Aly Song photo

Chinese assumptions become risk management issue

Does it matter if Chinese demand for what Canadian farmers grow and raise begins slumping 20, 50 or 100 years from now? Over the past two weeks fellow reporter Robert Arnason and I have taken a deep dive into the question of whether or not China’s expected ever-increasing hunger for western Canadian crops, meat and […] Read more

Canadian producers take comfort in the fact that they will always be preferred suppliers of agricultural products to major markets such as China, but an American professor questions the foundation on which that assumption is based.  |  REUTERS/Aly Song photo

Canada’s future food role questioned

Challenging Assumptions: Canadian canola producers run the risk of becoming residual rather than preferred suppliers

This is the second part of a series that started last week looking at the assumptions on which Canadian agricultural trade is based and whether those assumptions are justified. When North American farmers look beyond the present trade tensions with China and see glowing prospects of profitable decades to come, Todd Hubbs pauses. “I worry […] Read more


Exporters forced to adjust to changing food demands

If China and the rest of the developing world gets older and its population stabilizes, how should Canadian farmers and the agrifood industry deal with that very different marketplace? Does the old recipe of growing more and better bulk crops and meat at a low cost of production still work? “There’s more need to understand […] Read more

Getting it wrong on China, Canada and trade

If prime ministers were wrong, when were they wrong?

Perhaps Canadian prime ministers, both Liberal and Conservative, have been wrong about China, Canada and trade. But when were they wrong? I’ve criticized both former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and present Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for saying critical or provocative things to or about China, and thereby undermining efforts to build a bigger […] Read more


China’s consumers are changing and the middle class market’s growth is seen as a global economy driver over the coming decade. Families shop at an international supermarket in Beijing.  |  REUTERS/Jason Lee photo

Challenging assumptions

Farmers have heard the mantra time and again: the developing world, led by China, is growing; its expanding population is growing richer; it will demand more and more high-quality food; it won’t be able to produce that food for itself as it runs out of land and water; and western Canadian farmers will be needed […] Read more

The boost in canola-based interest-free cash advances from $100,000 to $500,000 can’t compensate much for marketplace losses, but it will allow farmers to have more cash in hand now and after harvest to settle bills that come due.  |  File photo

Cash advance expansion will act as stress reliever

Will the big boost to cash advances solve the China problem? Nope. Will it compensate farmers fully for their losses from the spat between Beijing and Ottawa? No. Will it remove canola-marketing worries from farmers throughout 2019-20? No way. But as a temporary stopgap, it’s a good stress reliever, a shield against some bad choices […] Read more

The pork suspensions apply to individual plants rather than entire companies and are blamed on “labelling issues.”  |  File photo

Concerns ease over pork export licence issue

Two Canadian hog processors lose their export licences to China, but industry confident it wasn’t part of bigger trade dispute

Canada’s hog farmers and the hog industry are hoping they still have access to China’s enormous market. As of May 6, at 1 p.m., Canadian pork industry insiders expressed cautious optimism that Canadian pork had not joined canola among the products the Chinese were locking out of their market. “There’s growing speculation that this reaction […] Read more


Supporting the Canadian Foodgrains Bank isn’t restricted to farm country. At this Winnipeg church, volunteers collect signatures calling on the government to increase its support.  |  Ed White photo

Canadian Foodgrains Bank bridges urban-rural divide

You don’t want to mess with church ladies. They’re effective, efficient, dynamic and righteous. They get things done. So, I’ve been pleased in recent years to see the social crusaders at my church, mostly women, getting behind Canadian Foodgrains Bank efforts to boost Canada’s overseas food and agriculture aid. The organization is often mentioned in […] Read more

China’s making enemies across Canada’s political spectrum

Instead of convincing Canadians to quake, Chinese trade truculence and abuse of Canadian citizens is hardening attitudes towards it

I was quite surprised to hear Conservative leader Andrew Scheer last night announcing a foreign policy approach that is more anti-China than much I’ve heard in recent years. “We should engage in a way that how our values and our interest are in many respects incompatible with those of the Chinese government,” said Scheer in […] Read more