Farmers hit by trade disputes should be helped faster, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Dec. 11, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Blair Gable)

Ottawa | Reuters — Canada’s agriculture department should move more quickly to help farmers harmed by protectionist measures imposed by other nations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Canadian farmers are caught up in a trade and diplomatic dispute between Ottawa and Beijing.

In a formal letter of instruction to Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Trudeau said she should draw on lessons from recent trade disputes involving exports of canola, beef and pork and work out better ways to respond.

“This should include the ability to provide faster short-term support for industry when required,” he wrote in the letter, one of the mandate letters published Friday for each of the federal cabinet ministers.

The Trudeau government is under increased pressure from farm groups who say they need immediate support for producers impacted by trade disputes.

Earlier this year Ottawa extended a federal loan program to offer more financial assistance to canola seed farmers hit by a Chinese import ban. Canada also has started the formal process to challenge China at the World Trade Organization.

In a statement, Bibeau said she would continue to work with industry and her provincial counterparts to advance the priorities outlined in the prime minister’s letter, which did not provide any further details.

China temporarily suspended Canadian beef and pork exports for four months over food safety concerns after bogus export certificates were discovered. Exports resumed in November after Canadian officials submitted a plan addressing Beijing’s concerns.

— Reporting for Reuters by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa.

marie claude bibeau
A retired Ontario veterinarian specializing in dairy, beef and swine health management has been named to lead Canada's national veterinarians' association. Dr. Jim Fairles of Mount Forest, Ont. has been named president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, replacing Dr. Lloyd Keddie, of Fairview, Alta., whose term ended last week. Fairles graduated in 1980 from the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College and earned an MBA from Guelph in 1999. For 25 years he managed a mixed practice at Mount Forest, about 60 km northwest of Guelph, and has since retired from active service. From April 2002 to December 2003, he gained international experience working with CIDA on a two-year animal health initiative in China. He has made several trips back to China since then. Fairles also worked on a two-year animal health initiative (2002-03) in China through the Canadian International Development Agency and has made several trips back to China since then, the CVMA noted in a release Wednesday. Since October 2004, Fairles has also been the client services veterinarian for the Animal Health Laboratory in the laboratory services division at the U of Guelph. Leading up to his appointment as CVMA president, Fairles has been the Ontario representative on the association's council for the past six years and has been on the CVMA executive for three years. He has also been the CVMA's representative -- and past chair -- to the Canadian Animal Health Coalition. Fairles is a member of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, Grey Bruce Veterinary Association, Ontario and American Association of Bovine Practitioners and Ontario and American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

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