STARVATION POLICY: Documents show mandatory fertilizer reductions on the table
The Trudeau Liberals are considering mandatory fertilizer reductions on Canadian farmers.

Keean Bexte

February 1, 2023

Documents obtained by True North’s Cosmin Dzsurdzsa reveal the Trudeau Liberals are considering mandatory fertilizer reductions on Canadian farmers.

STARVATION POLICY: Documents show mandatory fertilizer reductions on the table

True North filed an access-to-information request to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), asking for communications on fertilizer reduction. 

On Monday, Dzsurdzsa published part one of three of what True North called “The Fertilizer Files.” In it, Dzsurdzsa reveals the feds are mulling over how to get compliance from farmers with its 30% reduction target by 2030.

“A number of policy measures could be put forward for consideration beyond just a ‘voluntary agreement’,” said an official. 

“A suite of policy approaches will be necessary, and consideration to be given to a regulatory backstop should voluntary approaches not be successful.” 

In December 2020, the Trudeau government unveiled its new climate plan, with a focus on reducing nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.

Last year, the feds decided to move forward with the plan, even as provincial Agriculture Ministers begged Trudeau to stop.

The AAFC has previously acknowledged that emissions caps will hurt farmers – and that it intends to achieve its targets anyway.

Dzsurdzsa’s finding further reveals that internal discussions are being held regarding the non-voluntary means the feds intend to employ to achieve its ambitious targets.

The documents show that officials are discussing how to frame its plan to Canadians. One staffer wanted the messaging to be that mandates weren’t official “at this point.”  

The Counter Signal spoke with Joel Merkosky, a senior executive with Johnston’s Grain, a grain brokerage firm in Calgary. Merkosky said any mandates the government is considering are a terrible idea.

“Government mandates on agricultural practices in Western Canada have a high likelihood of negatively impacting the industry,” he said.

“If government policy becomes top-down regulation of farm practices, we will see yield reductions in Western Canada that will affect farm profitability and the stability of the global food supply.” 

Merkosky said it’s not just Albertan farmers who would oppose mandates but all Western Canadian farmers.

“Bureaucrats and officials in Ottawa should stay out of the game of mandating farm practices,” he said. 

“If they think that they have more expertise than Western Canadian farmers, they should perhaps focus on the strategy of educating on what they believe are best practices.”

“Mandates will destroy any sort of working relationship that Ottawa might have with farmers,” he added. 

Last year, to comply with the European Union’s radical climate laws, the Dutch government announced it will force up to 3,000 farms to shut down for good.

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