CCA next steps following the October 19 Federal Election
The political landscape in Canada may have changed following the recent Federal election but individual beef producers can count on the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) to continue to work hard to represent them. The CCA will work to build a relationship with the new Federal Government and to advocate on the issues and policies that are important to the Canadian beef sector.
As an organization, the CCA does not take a position on any political party. The CCA will always work with whichever party forms the government of the day and for this reason, we are always focused on policy.
The CCA recognizes that the Harper Government has been well aligned with CCA policy in a number of areas, primarily on the trade negotiation front. Ministers Gerry Ritz and Ed Fast have often earned CCA’s praise for their trade successes and we have given it when it was deserved, just as we supported the positive policies of the Martin, Chretien and Mulroney governments before them. The CCA will follow the same practice of working with the new Trudeau Government to develop and implement policies and actions favourable to Canadian beef producers.
Looking at the make-up of the new Liberal Government, there are nearly 150 brand new Members of Parliament. Most of them are elected in urban/sub-urban ridings, and the rural representation that does exist in caucus is concentrated east of Ottawa. The CCA will be following up to identify which Members will emerge as the champions for agriculture across Canada. Of course, this will begin with the naming of the new Minister of Agriculture, which we understand will happen on November 4. It will also involve informing the broader Parliament on beef cattle producer issues and the CCA will be actively engaged in undertaking that work.
At the same time, the CCA understands that most of rural B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Southern Ontario remain represented by Conservative MPs who know agriculture and beef issues well. The CCA will continue to keep them in the loop on our positions and ask for their assistance when needed.
The positions that the Liberal Party of Canada communicated to the CCA in response to our formal questionnaire issued during the election campaign largely hit the right notes with CCA positions on a variety of issues including trade, labour, research, regulatory burden and Business Risk Management (BRM). Producers who haven’t had a chance to read the LPC full response are encouraged to do so and can find the response here or on the CCA website. Obviously, some of the LPC responses left room to fill in the details, but there is a good foundation on which the CCA can build.
Members of Parliament (MPs) must represent all of their constituents. As such, MPs are typically aware of a wide variety of issues making it challenging to keep any one issue top-of-mind at all times. Producers can help create awareness about industry issues by getting to know their MP and meeting with them regularly. Taking the opportunity in these meetings to discuss industry issues and their impact on beef cattle producers, as well as offering CCA-sanctioned solutions, ensures that MPs know what action they can take to help the industry. It’s up to producers to keep reminding politicians, and Canada, what this industry means for today and the future.
The CCA offers the following tips for ‘talking to your MP’:
- Get to know your MP and ensure they know you by meeting with them regularly.
- Regular contact is a good way to keep your MP focused on issues important to you.
- Be specific when stating your needs, write down the important points to keep the conversation on track.
- Take the opportunity in these meetings to ensure that your MP knows what action they can take to help the industry.
- Momentum is a big part of achieving change in government policies. That momentum comes from one visit at a time.
- Update CCA's Ottawa staff on your interactions with MPs. This helps to increase the chances of building on that momentum to successfully influence federal policy.