Agriculture and Fisheries: Securing Our Food Supply

For centuries, family farms and small coastal communities have been the pillars of our society and economy. But over the last five decades, federal policies and subsidies have shifted food production from ecologically sustainable farming and fishing families into huge aquaculture and agribusinesses, placing the control and profits of our food supply into the hands of multinational corporations. Our biosecurity is threatened directly by agribusiness, as factory farms and poultry production crowd bovine and poultry into inhumane and unhygienic conditions creating the conditions for the spread of mad cow disease and the avian bird flu. Further threats to Canadians' health come from the chemicals and hormones that are often pumped into these animals. Finally, much of our crops are now genetically modified and subjected to pesticides without sufficient scientific tests to know the full affect on our health and environment. The Green Party seeks to restructure our agricultural markets to sustain farming and fishing families in a domestic food economy and provide families with a fair share of the consumer food dollar. A sustainable food economy in a healthy environment requires keeping local small-scale agriculture alive and supporting a rapid transition to organic agriculture rather than subsidizing costly agro-chemicals, industrial food production, and genetically modified crops. The Green Party will also bring a vision of long-term sustainability to the management of coastal fisheries based on enhancing wild fisheries and harvesting methods that work within ecological limits.

Green Party MPs will work to:

  • Support local, provincial and territorial genetically engineered free zones and pass legislation requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods.
  • Ensure that supply management systems provide stable domestic markets, viable farm income, and easier market access for specialty and organic producers, and permit continued unregulated production by smaller and mixed family farms that sell to local markets.
  • Adapt food safety and other regulations and work with provincial governments to provide area exemptions with locally adopted regulations to support small and medium size farmers and food processors to build and strengthen local food economies.
  • Shift government-supported research away from biotechnology and energy-intensive farming and toward organic food production.
  • Reform the regulatory environment of agriculture to challenge corporate concentration, eliminate international dumping and subsidies, and continue to allow seed saving by farmers.
  • Fundamentally change the management of fisheries by redefining the Department of Fisheries and Ocean's mandate to protect and conserve wild fisheries, introducing adaptive ecosystem and community-based methods that support sustainable fisheries.
  • Work with the provinces to re-establish a wild fish economy based on the precautionary principle in risk management with primary concern going to rehabilitating fish stocks, protecting fish habitats and phasing-out fish farms.
  • Protect animal welfare by phasing out factory farming, reducing distances live animals can be transported, improving conditions of animals in slaughterhouses, auctions, entertainment, and prohibiting trade in exotic animals.
  • Work with provinces to ensure that 100 per cent of livestock waste is recycled safely and no animal by-products are used in animal feed.
  • Pass a law that forbids the patenting of life forms and makes biotech developers of genetically engineered crops liable for damage such crops might cause.