Vice-President of CFA Paying Attention to various ag issues as Parliament resumes

Like back to school for kids, it’s back to Parliament for politicians from all political stripes.

Today (Monday) was the first day of the fall session for MP’s.

From an agricultural perspective, what’s old is new again as it’ll be Lawrence MacAulay’s first sitting as Federal Agriculture Minister since he replaced Marie-Claude Bibeau.

Vice President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture Todd Lewis says it’ll be interesting to see how MacAulay will handle current ag issues, including labour with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, review of the Canadian Grain Act, and Bill C-234 – the exemption of the carbon tax on grain drying and heating livestock barns.

“We’re looking forward to getting that bill through committee and passed into law,” Lewis said of C-234, in reference to its current status of the bill, which is in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry for consideration.

Lewis believes with a minority government, private members’ bills will get more attention than normal.

“The private members’ bills can really have an effect on policy so it’ll be interesting to see what’s debated at both the Parliament and Senate over the next 6 months,” he said.

Another private member’s bill to keep track of is C-294, an Act to amend the Copyright Act. It would allow a person, under certain circumstances, to bypass a technological protection measure to access information needed to make a device or program.  

Lewis says it’s similar to right-to-repair laws in the U.S.

“It’s an ongoing bill and a moving target,” he adds. “As technology changes, a lot of the different opportunities to fix and repair things get more and more difficult, so hopefully we’re going to end up with legislation that has more of a balance than what we currently have.”

Regarding livestock issues, Lewis is interested in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s traceability regulations, and ongoing trade talks between Canada and the United Kingdom.

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