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COLUMN: Trudeau's attack on western farmers a threat to our food supply

'This recent Trudeau musing involves limiting the usage of fertilizer — a substance, when delivered in its most smelly, natural form, reminds us of what the federal Liberals have long shoveled upon Alberta.'
Nelson Chris web
Columnist Chris Nelson

There’s neither plan nor strategy, not even the remote semblance of critical forethought when it comes to our current prime minister.

Justin Trudeau simply says what he imagines might, at that singular moment, burnish his longed-for global statesman image; someone serenely hovering above the fray us lesser mortals must endure — striving to survive amidst rapidly soaring costs for every necessity known to us all.

Yes, as everything the federal government touches turns to dust — airports are clogged; Service Canada offices make a mockery of their name; millions of would-be immigrants wonder if applications will ever be heard; as phone and Internet services crash — Trudeau blithely poses for summer selfies, while tossing out more shoot-from-the-lip policy statements, guaranteed to infuriate a further cohort of Canadians.

Alberta’s energy industry has a collective hide so thick nowadays that endless antagonistic federal rhetoric bounces off almost unobserved. Therefore, another group of hard-working westerners must be unearthed to fill this gaping breach, thereby adding to the Grits’ ever-lengthening naughty-not-nice list.

Sorry to those who are still working down on the farm. But you’re it, as we would once gleefully announce to some unfortunate soul, during those fun but cruel childhood games of long ago.

It was destined to roll around eventually: an attack on Canadian farmers under that gloriously green, climate emergency banner. This recent Trudeau musing involves limiting the usage of fertilizer — a substance, when delivered in its most smelly, natural form, reminds us of what the federal Liberals have long shoveled upon Alberta.

Cutting the bull and arriving at the meat, so to speak: the government intends to effectively reduce farmers’ use of fertilizer by 30 per cent — in scientific terms by limiting the use of the key ingredient nitrous oxide — as part of its bid to severely reduce carbon emissions and thereby fight accelerating climate change.

Of course, you won’t be surprised to learn 70 per cent of farmland that would be affected is in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Farmers, instead, want any fertilizer reductions measured by how much food is produced compared to the amount of fertilizer used, something western growers are striving for already, as growing more for less saves them money in addition to curbing emissions.

Now, when there’s a global food emergency looming due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, such a practical step would seem eminently sensible. But no, Trudeau is demanding an absolute reduction in usage, which will naturally result in less food being produced.

A study commissioned by Fertilizer Canada concluded his plan would also cut farmers’ incomes by about $10 billion between next year’s harvests and those expected in 2030 — this due to losing about 160 million metric tons of canola, corn, and spring wheat, over that period.

Contributing to global starvation has now become part of current Canadian public policy.

This latest stupidity was undoubtedly spawned when our prime minister — always looking to one-up any country competing in the green-morality sweepstakes — learned the Dutch government intended such a move.

In the Netherlands that immediately resulted in mass protests by furious farmers, who closed highways with tractors, brought cows to the capital, threatening to slaughter them on parliamentary steps, while blocking vital food distribution centres.

Trudeau’s government better get ready to roll out more emergency powers legislation, because if Canadian truckers managed to bring chaos to our country’s capital, then those beleaguered folk in Ottawa have seen nothing yet.

The slightest forethought would have prevented this. But that’s never been part of Trudeau's political handbook: momentary, feel-good morality plays being all that dreary document contains.

Chris Nelson is a long-time journalist. His columns on Alberta politics run monthly in The Gazette.