CAAR Executive Director Mitch Rezansoff travelled to Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament and industry colleagues during Fertilizer Canada’s annual Parliamentary Forum from April 9-10. Read more for a summary of events and Rezansoff’s takeaways on the importance of the meetings.
This annual event is an opportunity for members of the Canadian fertilizer industry to meet with parliamentarians and speak to them directly about the issues facing the industry and impress on them the vital contributions the industry makes to trade, transportation, environmental stewardship and in feeding the world.
“Effective positioning of agriculture and its associated upstream and downstream industries requires alignment and joint effort from the ag industry,” says Rezansoff, after attending the event. “There is a need to demonstrate, in a transparent way, that agriculture is making growing contributions to the Canadian GDP.”
In their meetings on Parliament Hill, representatives from across the value chain strived to highlight industry accomplishments and economic impact; build awareness and political capital for future engagement and asks; strengthen the development of industry consultation to current and future regulations; validate the ongoing support of agriculture industry associations with first-hand accounts of members and partners; and reinforce the agriculture industry’s contributions at local and regional levels.
The following subjects were discussed during the two-days of meetings:
- Nutrients – Demonstrating alignment with the government’s mandate on environment and innovation.
- Environment – Ensuring fair treatment on any regulation applicable to fertilizer manufacturing.
- Transportation – Highlighting the industry’s role in the transportation network and need for improved service.
- 4R Solutions – Sharing the benefits of the industry’s international development application on the environment
- Public Safety – Highlighting the industry’s codes of practice and commitment to safe manufacturing, storage and handling.
Impression of Hill Day
Rezansoff says attending the event reinforced the importance of building upon Canadian agriculture’s reputation of integrity. “Those who work in agriculture demonstrate daily a culture of accountability and responsibility,” he says. “We need to re-enforce the accomplishments at every opportunity, particularly among government stakeholders and decision-makers.”
By doing so, Rezansoff says that ag industry groups including CAAR can affirm their spot at the regulation development table. The process of developing regulations is most effective if the people who will be impacted are engaged throughout and providing input. CAAR has had successful interactions with government in this regard, something he wants to see evolve.
“It’s important that regulators take a consultative approach with ag industry stakeholders,” he says. “CAAR will continue to strengthen and grow our position at the regulation development table to ensure the voices of our members are heard.”
Finally, Rezansoff says the event was an important opportunity to make personal connections with fellow ag associations and MPs at a reception held jointly between Fertilizer Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, representing growers, processors and industry.
When it comes to engaging government officials, Rezansoff encourages everyone in the ag industry to work toward ensuring that agriculture remains a top priority.
“An MP’s attention to issues is constantly being pulled in multiple directions. A continuous effort from all sectors is required to make sure that the issues impacting agriculture stay on their radars,” he says.
Government Officials Present
During the two-day Parliamentary Forum, Rezansoff met with the following government officials:
Political Affiliation: Liberal
Constituency: La Prairie, Province of Quebec
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Political Affiliation: Conservative
Constituency: Niagara West, Province of Ontario
Vice-Chair Standing Committee on International Trade
Political Affiliation: Conservative
Constituency: Haldimand, Province of Ontario
Director of Policy and Operations,
Natural Resources Canada
Legislative & Parliamentary Secretary’s Assistant,
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
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