Cornwall Ontario — Guy Lauzon, MP of SDSG writes: Family farms are the backbone of our country and in many respects agriculture is the backbone of our economy. Canada was built on agriculture and the sacrifices of many hard working men and women who came to our country to establish a new life. For generations farmers have fed Canadians and the world while providing jobs and economic opportunities here at home. I am happy to say that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty understands the important role agriculture plays in our economy based on the recently released Budget, Canada’s 2013 Economic Action Plan.
There are a number of features included in Economic Action Plan 2013 that I think farmers will appreciate. The tax free capital gains exemption has been raised from $750,000 to $800,000. This will allow farmers to better plan for their retirement, as well as, facilitate the transfer of the family farm to a family member. Part-time farmers will also appreciate the doubling of the deduction for tax exempt farm income losses from $8,750 to $17,500. Budget 2013 also invests $165 million in Genome Canada, whose research has helped develop new technology for the agriculture sector, like bovine genome, which has provided significant benefits to the cattle and dairy industries.
When I was first appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to Gerry Ritz, the Agriculture Minister, I expressed concern to him that I was somewhat apprehensive due to my limited knowledge of agriculture. The Ministers advice to me was “always put farmers first Guy, and you will never go wrong”. I guess this message also got to Minister Flaherty when you take a look at the action we have taken to support farmers in the past.
Since first elected in 2006, we have provided over $7 billion to farmers through a new suite of Business Risk Management programs, including AgriStability, AgriInsurance, AgriInvest, and AgriRecovery. Our Government also invested over $2.3 billion towards Growing Forward 2, which will invest in innovation, competitiveness and market development for Canada’s agricultural sector. I am proud to state that we also established the AgriFlexibility Fund, which helps improve competitiveness and the sector’s ability to adapt to cost of production pressures. Another program we invested in was the Agricultural Innovation Program which supports the development and commercialization of new products, technologies, processes and services. Further, we have invested $50 million to support increased slaughter capacity and $370 million to support the hog industry. And this only lists a few of our past initiatives!
I and my Conservative Caucus colleagues understand the very real challenges farmers’ face. This is why our Conservative Government will continue build on the support we provide to farmers.