North Buxton – Prime Minister Paul Martin today announced a comprehensive plan to strengthen the food production sector that will review the Agriculture Policy Framework based on the “Easter report;” provide funding for export market development; and extend green-cover incentives.
“Farming and fishing families are the ones who put food on our tables, a vital part of our economy, and the backbone of Canada’s rural communities,” said the Prime Minister. “The measures announced today will assist in the evolution of the industry to ensure that Canada’s food production industries continue to thrive.”
The plan encompasses actions in four key areas.
Income Support and Risk Management: A Liberal government will work with farm organizations and the provinces and territories to review the Agriculture Policy Framework, beginning in 2006. The review will draw on the well-received “Easter Report” on Empowering Canadian Farmers in the Marketplace, which was written earlier this year by Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development and MP for Malpeque Wayne Easter.
Market access: A Liberal government will help Canada’s producers to take advantage of new market opportunities by:
- re-introducing amendments to the Agriculture Marketing Programs Act (AMPA) which will provide $104 million to extend advances to the livestock sector; and
- earmarking at least $5 million a year to support export market promotion of Canada’s high-quality agri-food products through the Global Success Fund under the CAN-Trade strategy.
Rural Economic Development and Sustainability: To create new economic development opportunities for farmers and rural communities, while encouraging environmental sustainability, a Liberal government will:
- establish a National Renewable Fuels Standard that will call for a minimum of 5 percent mix of renewable fuels in gasoline and diesel by the end of 2010. This measure will create new economic development opportunities for farmers and rural communities, as well as advancing the Government's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and smog;
- develop domestic “offset credits” for farmers who adopt low-till or zero-till practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using the government’s new Climate Fund;
- continue to support the successful Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) in promoting a sustainable rural economy and look to expand its services, with the first step being a pilot project in B.C.;
- continue to fund conservation and green-cover incentives at a level of $30 million per year after the current program expires in 2007-08;
- renew the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund; and
- provide $100 million over five years to extend broadband access to rural and remote communities.
Tax Reduction: For the first time, the Liberal government will extend the lifetime capital gains tax exemption to all fishers. On December 19, 2005, we announced a 50 percent increase to the exemption, for small-business and farmers. This measure will now also apply to the transfer of a fishing enterprise from one qualified fisher to another.
Furthermore, we will allow the tax-exempt transfer of a fishing enterprise from one generation to another, with no maximum limit, as is currently the case with farms and small businesses.