SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD – New Democrat MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois–Salaberry) consulted members of the agricultural community to gather their views on the reforms implemented by the Conservatives. Their opinion was quite clear: the Harper government does not adequately support farmers.

Several issues, including the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), were addressed at the meeting. Those in attendance were very critical of the reform. Ms. Quach denounced the Conservatives’ attitude on this issue: “The Harper government did not consult the provinces and has introduced half-measures that have distorted the TFWP. New Democrats believe in the virtues of the program but believe the program must be realigned to reflect its original objectives: ensuring that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs, recruiting to fill skills shortages and recognizing the specificities of the agricultural sector,” said Ms. Quach.

Another issue raised at the meeting was supply management. The culture of secrecy surrounding the negotiation of free trade agreements has left many farmers concerned that their livelihood is at stake.

“Canada’s system provides stability, we can be proud of this and the Conservatives need to be clear about their commitment to supply management,” said Anne Quach. The NDP supports supply management and has asked for the Prime Minister’s assurance that Canada’s Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations will protect our supply management system.” Several technological investments have been put on hold because of uncertainties that have had a negative impact on the local economy.

Since taking her seat in the House of Commons, New Democrat MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach has been working hard to promote local foods. Although Bill C 539 she introduced was defeated by the Conservatives, the NDP incorporated the substance of the bill in its pan Canadian food strategy. Tom Mulcair’s NDP is ready to bring change in Ottawa and is a strong partner for the agricultural producers.