Do you remember those time, where you can go to the movies for $2? I remember I went to see a Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie with my friends at this tiny (by todays standards) cinema at the Scarborough Town Centre, They were about the same size or a little smaller that Carlton Cinemas in Toronto. Trudeau emerges from Rideau Cottage a bit after 11am to present his daily update.
He opened by paying tribute to all the veterans that fought in WW2, thanking them for their service and how all Canadians are indebted to their sacrifices in battle, fighting (and to some, dying) for our way of life today, and I’m sure Don Cherry is throwing his hands up in the air, with a dictator, you never win. If you are having trouble remembering what I am talking about, read these to catch up on the outrageous move by Sports Broadcaster Sportsnet and the large amounts of support to have Don Cherry cancelled.
Todays talk was about farmers, but more specifically the Agri-Food industry. If you have been out shopping for groceries, you most likely saw that your basket of groceries had a noticeable jump in price. Rosemary Barton of CBC news reported that mushroom farmers record a loss of $400,000 dollars weekly, because of the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down restaurants of whom are their biggest customers. Justin Trudeau has realized that there is a huge disruption, not only in the mushroom sector, but in others as well. We are seeing a waste of food, whether it be due to shrinkage in demand from restaurant closures, the inability to store the excess product before it spoils or just the accumulation of livestock.
Thus, Justin Trudeau and the Government of Canada has allocated $252M dollars in the initial aid toward the agriculture sector. This includes funds available to the plants and facilities that process products like meat and cheese, and beef and poultry. This problem in the Agri-Food industry has affected the economy in many ways, Trudeau placing emphasis on the ripple effect that COVID-19, has announced a buyback program, called The Surplus Food Repurchase Program, of $50M, where the Government will buy a chunk of the excess supply of farmed food, and redistribute them to those facing food insecurity.
As previously mentioned, COVID-19 didn’t just effect potatoes, as a ahndful memes on social media will lead you to believe. There is an excess of almost everything, especially milk and cheese that will go to waste; farmers will also have to keep their livestock for additional amounts of time, which can be quite expensive. In addition to having this year’s produce being affected with the restrictions on imports and exports and the closure of many restaurants, COVID-19 has also disrupted the future supply of food. With only 90% of expected temporary workers to help plant seeds for the next seasons harvest in the fall, farmers are finding themselves short of helping hands. Initial ask from the farming industry was a massive 2.6 billion dollars, and when we consider all of the factors of production involved in farming, harvest and storing the food we eat; there’s no doubt that these initial steps will have to be followed up by other measures.
During the Q & A after, Trudeau was questioned about the Airline industry, how he plans to help the various sectors, and if he has a timeline for how the government aims to aid these various sectors, like the farming industry that had an initial ask of 2.6M dollars. The reopening of the meat processing plant Cargil, and the safety of the workers were also brought up. Not only are there issues with the plant re-opening despite resistance from the workers union, Cargil, being a multi-national company doesn’t seem like a federal responsibility; also, how will the Government of Canada help ensure the safety of these workers who are not only working in cramped conditions, but also living in close quarters to one another.
Trudeau had met these questions with the usual answers, there are many sectors that need help, and the Government of Canada has rolled out the CERB plan and the wage subsidy as an initial investment to help those various individuals in all sectors who are affected by this. As for Cargil and the plants’ employee safety, it is of course a Federal problem as those are Canadians, and we also rely on the food supply. The money associated with some of these Federal Programs are to aid the implementation of different measures and the acquisition of various personal protective equipment.
Just as a note, America’s Trump has already put $19 billion dollars of aid for their farmers. COVID-19 really cornered the markets on our guacomole.