Montréal – March 20, 2019 – After examining the terms of the 2019 budget Investing in the Middle Class to Grow Canada’s Economy, La Coop fédérée would like to note the consensus that has emerged amongst the first reactions of the majority of stakeholders in the agricultural sector related to the $4 billion in compensation announced by the Government of Canada, in the context of reducing the impacts of recent free-trade agreements.
A joint committee to initiate the implementation of compensatory measures
La Coop fédérée is pleased to note that the Canadian government is taking into consideration offsetting measures for supply-managed industries impacted by the commercial agreements reached in recent years. "We are now asking for the establishment of a committee that will bring together all representatives from concerned parties to establish the terms of payment for the amounts that have been announced and the schedule for the compensation to be paid to affected farmers," said Mr. Ghislain Gervais, President of La Coop fédérée. As a major stakeholder in the Canadian agricultural sector, La Coop fédérée is very concerned about the situation and wants to closely monitor the compensation as presented in the federal budget. "This $4 billion announcement must not fall in the face of the calendar for the federal election or the long-awaited signature on the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA). This announcement must be well framed,” added Mr. Gervais.
Canadian agriculture: a family and regional affair
La Coop fédérée has always emphasized the importance of free trade agreements for an exporting country such as Canada. These agreements must not make us forget that Canadian agriculture has always been a family and regional affair. It is a particular way of seeing our country, a choice of society and of distinctive human values that have allowed for the development of an agricultural economy that is an important part of the assets that make up the Canadian experience.
Concrete measures anticipated in the Quebec government’s budget
Other structural measures were also announced by the federal government, in particular for monitoring African swine fever, an assurance of continued access for Canadian meat products to the American market, as well as those aimed at regional economies: energy transformation, universal Internet access for all Canadians, the transfer of $2 billion from the Gas Tax Fund to municipalities, the transition of the workforce, and a policy focused on youth and the next generation.
"La Coop fédérée welcomes these federal initiatives and hopes that they will also be deployed quickly to enable the population to meet the challenges currently faced across the country. To this end, we are waiting for concrete measures to be proposed by the Quebec government, when the provincial budget is tabled later this week, because agriculture has undergone major technological changes (in production, in distribution, as well as in environmental matters). Canada's agricultural sector is well positioned to continue its mission of feeding the people of Canada while ensuring growth," said Mr. Gaétan Desroches, Chief Executive Officer of La Coop fédérée. "For this, we must support our farm families and their enterprises in their transition to the agriculture of tomorrow through good research practises and the best agri-food policies,” he concluded.
Agriculture is our common heritage, an important part of the economy in this country. It allows us to ensure both food security and sovereignty, while facilitating innovation in several sectors including agriculture and agri-food.
About La Coop fédérée
Founded in 1922, La Coop fédérée is the largest agri-food enterprise in Québec, the only pan-Canadian agricultural cooperative and the 24th largest agri-food cooperative in the world. It represents more than 120,000 members, agricultural producers and consumers, who are grouped together in nearly 60 cooperatives spread out across several Canadian provinces. It employs 14,000 people and has sales reaching $6.5 billion. Including its affiliated cooperatives, La Coop fédérée accounts for nearly 19,000 employees and combined sales of $9.5 billion. Its activities are divided into three divisions: Olymel S.E.C. (under the Olymel, Flamingo and Lafleur, Aliments Triomphe, and Pinty’s banners), the AgriBusiness Division (under La Coop and Elite, Agrocentre, Agrico and Agromart, and Country Stores banners), and Groupe BMR inc. (under the BMR, Unimat, Agrizone and Potvin & Bouchard, La Shop and Country Stores banners). To find out more, visit www.lacoop.coop. Twitter: twitter.com/LaCoop_federee. Facebook: facebook.com/LaCoopfederee
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