Ontario Conservative MP Bev Shipley wants to cut away some of the red tape that he says harms the competitiveness of Canadian farmers.
Shipley, who represents Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, has presented a private member’s motion in the Commons to require federal regulators to include in their approval process consideration for “the equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes of other trading nations.”
Shipley sits on the Commons agriculture committee, which has been studying the competitiveness of Canadian agriculture for much of 2009, but has yet to produce a report. He will need opposition support to get the motion approved when it comes up for debate sometime next year.
Considering scientific work done in other countries in the federal regulatory process could bring new technologies and products such as pesticides to Canada sooner, Shipley says. “This would help our farmers to be more competitive by having access to production management tools other nations currently can use, but that Canadian farmers cannot.”
Farmers in other countries, “most notably in the United States, are able to use commercial agricultural products that our producers cannot. Further, some of these products, that are not available in Canada for our farmers to use, are being used on imported agri-food and livestock commodities.”
Shipley says he consulted many producers in southwestern Ontario as well as provincial and national agricultural organizations in preparing his motion. “I have heard from many local farmers who say they are placed at a competitive disadvantage to their direct competitors” by the failure of regulators to consider research done in other countries.