By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The Prime Minister’s promise to reduce fertilizer emissions has not been received well by key industry stakeholders and political opponents.
Last month, the federal government went ahead with a promise to cut fertilizer emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, a decision that Lethbridge MP Rachael Thomas criticized during a recent interview with Sunny South News.
Thomas said the decision is without scientific merit and harms agricultural producers in a time where food security is already precarious across the globe.
As political instability in Ukraine continues to disrupt the food supply across Europe, Thomas said Canada’s agricultural producers are well-equipped to fill in some of the gaps in the global food supply as the export of agricultural commodities from Europe’s “breadbasket”, Ukraine, has been disrupted.
“We were already facing a food shortage in the world because of the impact of (the situation in) Ukraine, which means countries like Canada, have an opportunity and a responsibility to step up and be part of the solution to that food crisis,” said Thomas.
Instead, she said the policy means, “levels of food production are actually going to be harmed.”
“(Trudeau) did not consult with producers. He did not consult with key industry stakeholders. He did not consult with his Minister of Agriculture or Environment or anyone on his cabinet team.”
Thomas said the Prime Minister’s fertilizer reduction plan was not backed by concrete data. “This was a decision that he just made in the moment without any sort of scientific backing. Here’s the thing: I think Canadians need to be asking, and many are asking, was this decision made for the environment or was this decision simply politically motivated?”
Last week, fellow Conservative MP for the Foothills riding, John Barlow, also spoke out against the decision. Barlow penned a letter which said the decision was the government, “following their friends to jump off of a bridge,” and added, “We are witnessing firsthand the significance of food security as a vital geopolitical tool. This is not the time for Canada to go backward.”
Thomas called the prime minister’s emission reduction plan, “extremely punitive,” and “hostile” towards farmers. “I’m shocked at the level of hostility demonstrated by this current government toward these individuals who are working so hard to provide the very basic necessities of life to this country and again around the globe.”
While the decision has been framed as an environmental move, Thomas is skeptical of this reasoning.
In addition to things like the cost implications of overusing fertilizer, Thomas said it is in the best interest of farmers to act as stewards of the environment to ensure crop viability for years to come.
She said farmers already “make sure that they’re using fertilizers in the most efficient, and effective way possible,” and added, “we’re looking at individuals, whose lives depend on stewardship, and so, of course they’re using water responsibly; of course they’re using the land as best as they possibly can. Of course, they care about the health of the soil. If they don’t care, about those things, they don’t produce a crop and if they don’t produce a crop, they don’t make paycheque, of course. So it’s in their best interest to do these things.”
“Let’s start from that standpoint rather than demonizing these individuals.”
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