Now that Ontario Conservative MP Bev Shipley’s motion to improve the licensing of farm inputs has passed, he’s looking to put the federal regulatory system to the test.
He wants farmers, farm organizations and manufacturers of agriculture products to give him examples of products that can’t be used in Canada but are acceptable in imports.
“In terms of how and when the actual changes are implemented, I will need the ongoing support of stakeholders and I am anxious to hear what they have to say.”
He contacted many farm groups before introducing his motion.
Its goal was to save farmers and companies the expense and paper shuffling involved in repeating research already approved in other countries. Accepting “equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes of our other trading nations,” would give farmers access to new seeds, pesticides, herbicides and veterinary medications, he says. That would help make Canadian farmers more competitive internationally.
The Liberals supported his motion, which was opposed by the NDP and Bloc Quebecois. It called on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Pest Management Regulatory Agency to accept the scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes of Canada’s trading partners, particularly in the United States, for licensing products used in Canada.
As long as foreign testing is comparable to what Canada does, then the agencies should accept their results, he says. “If we can’t get that, then we need to stop imports coming into Canada that contain these same products. This is an issue of fairness. Canadian farmers need access to the same products and production tools used by their competitors, especially in the United States.”
Those products include pesticides, veterinary medicines and other farm inputs products “that are used or contained in imports coming into Canada and are sitting on Canadian grocery shelves in direct competition with Canadian food products,” he says.
The NDP and Bloc opposed the motion because it didn’t require imported products to be up to Canadian standards. Shipley says he offered two sessions to discuss his motion but neither party showed up to discuss their concerns.
He also has yet to hear how the agencies will act in response to the motion.