Friday, July 15, 2016

MacAulay supports free internal trade

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay proclaimed himself a strong advocate of free trade within Canada when he appeared before a Senate committee this week.

Ironically, he faced questions about chicken being imported as spent fowl rather than any mention of the ban on trading live chicken between Ontario and Quebec.

The one specific MacAulay mentioned is the idea of having the Canadian Food Inspection Agency take over all provincial food inspection.

That would enable all food to be sold anywhere in Canada, he said.

It would also put a lot of small-scale meat packers out of business because they insist they can’t afford to bring their facilities up to CFIA standards.

It would also probably put a major crimp into the local food movement and small farmers markets because those farmers are unlikely to want to meet the full requirements of federal inspection.

Nor did MacAulay give any hint about how much his inspection proposal might cost and how many inspectors and supervisors would be required to make it work.

The Senators urged MacAulay to keep pushing for free internal trade and to lobby Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put it on the agenda for the next meeting of premiers.