Ag policy remains vital coverage area

For the last five years, since the retirement of our Ottawa bureau’s Barry Wilson, Kelsey Johnson’s column has graced the bottom of page 10, offering her weekly analysis of what’s going on in ag on Parliament Hill.

Kelsey has covered many issues related to agriculture – she’s an Albertan, and an Edmonton Eskimos fan – which was always an interesting field to her.

However, time moves on and so does Kelsey. So, I wish Kelsey well in her new pursuits. You may still see her name in The Western Producer from time to time in her new capacity as a correspondent for Reuters.

But federal agriculture policy remains a vital area for the Producer to cover. There is an election coming up in October and you can bet agriculture will be high on the list of issues discussed, given recent world events. I expect the Conservatives and the NDP will have a go at how the Liberals have handled the trade dispute with China and the ensuing disruption on the canola trade. Despite this, no one has yet offered a realistic course of action that would see us getting there. China simply isn’t budging.

Still, it’s unlikely the issue will be solved by October so I expect there will be a lot to debate about how Canada should conduct itself with China.

My own expected solution is that after President Donald Trump is finished blustering with China, the two countries will realize there’s too much at risk and finally come up with a trade deal, which may result in the United States dropping extradition orders against Hauwei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is being detained in Vancouver.

But even if that happens, China has shown it has a long memory. It took six years to resume full trade with Norway after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a critic and human rights activist in China. He died a year ago after being released from jail.

While Kelsey has moved on, we will have a variety of writers at the bottom of Page 10 to keep abreast of federal agricultural policy and politics. Today, Managing Editor Michael Raine offers his thoughts on a recent interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Our politics reporter, Karen Briere, will also keep on top of developments.

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