Former federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Tuesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s demand that grocery stores create the means for lowering the price of food is a plan for “empty shelves.”
“We import 50 percent of what we consume. And do you think [Trudeau] is going to put price controls on all the countries we import from? He can't,” Ritz told The Post Millennial.
Ritz said it’s similar to the Trudeau government’s plan to phase out single-use plastics for meat, fruit and vegetables in grocery stores. “As soon as that actually comes into play, then, you know, everything that comes in California and Florida and so that comes in a plastic bag that can't come in anymore.”
The former Member of Parliament from Saskatchewan who served as minister of agriculture and agri-good for eight years during the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it will all mean “less product on the shelves, because the Americans are not going to change their way of doing things for one little country that's a minor part of their market share.”
“So it's going to shrink, there's no doubt about it. Our shelves are going to be empty and the prices have to go up because the overhead costs of those stores – all that handling all that transportation – is still there.
Ritz noted that Trudeau’s carbon tax on gasoline and home heating fuel will also be a contributing factor “at every level that adds to that final price.”
The former minister also said he doesn’t believe that the Liberal government’s stated objective of reducing fertilizer use by 30 percent by 2030 – supposedly because the nitrogen in the product contributes to greenhouse gas emissions – will be voluntary for farmers.
“No, not at all. I think the same as we had a voluntary gun registry. You know, after a while it became mandatory under these liberals and that's what they do best.”
Ritz said the Trudeau government is dominated by urban cabinet ministers who have no knowledge or appreciation of rural life or farming
“These guys they're disconnected from any type of rural groups,” he said, noting that the current agriculture minister, Lawrence MacAuley, has operated a small dairy farm “but that's some 40 years ago already.”
“Lawrence is getting a do-over coming back in for a second stint at this. And he's the one whose loose lips started talking about a mandatory 30 percent reduction in fertilizer use. I think he got out ahead of the comms team led by [Trudeau Chief of Staff] Katie Telford, of course. And he's actually spilled the beans, quite literally, and farmers are starting to be concerned.”
Ritz said the plan is a recipe for disaster for a “trading nation” like Canada.
“It sends those ripples out across the world that Canadian agriculture is going to shrink, not grow to feed that hungry world.”
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