OTTAWA — Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-food minister says that meat producers are concerned about the impact of the trucker border blockades on their livelihoods.
The office of Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has highlighted her Feb. 14 meeting with Canadian meat industry representatives — same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked special Emergencies Act powers in an attempt to clear Truckers Freedom Convoy protesters from Ottawa and a number of border crossings.
Bibeau echoed the Trudeau cabinet’s basic message, but with an agricultural bent.
“The border blockades across the country are affecting the safe movement of livestock, feed and goods and is adversely impacting Canada’s food supply chain,” Bibeau asserted. “The disruptions have caused a threat to our economy and public safety and they are hurting farmers, small businesses and our communities across the country.”
“When I met with industry leaders, they told me that the blockade is having a significant impact on the livelihood of Canadian farm families and businesses who cannot sustain any more delays,” the minister said.
“I also heard that shipments of animals are being delayed and cancelled, which is creating serious risks to animal welfare. We must ensure that animals, feed and ingredients can flow smoothly across the border. This is essential to support producers and protect the welfare of animals travelling between Canada and the U.S.,” she said.
Bibeau did not address the principal demand of the protesters, that the government immediately drop all pandemic-related mandates.
Trudeau’s action also coincided with the 185-to-151 defeat of a motion by the Official Opposition demanding his government release a timetable for the lifting of federally controlled pandemic measures. The Conservatives were supported on the motion by the Bloc Quebecois but the governing Liberals carried the vote, largely with the help of the NDP.