With the federal election just days away, Foothills incumbent John Barlow says the Conservatives have been the ones to stand shoulder to shoulder with farmers on the front line, referring to the Tories as the only party which will be a champion for agriculture.

Barlow says if elected, he would ensure regaining market access is a top priority on day one for the new Government, along with other MPs representing rural ridings rooted in agriculture and ag processing.

He says because Canada has the best grains and livestock in the world, market access issues have not been based on product quality, but rather politics.

He says Canada needs to reset relationships with its most trusted trading partners.

"Not necessarily free trade agreements with countries like China, but tariff free agreements where we can get our products to those markets so our producers can benefit from them."

Barlow says it's also time to get back to science-based decision making when it comes to agriculture, explaining he's been hearing a lot about the new animal transportation regulations.

The Government's changes are set come into effect next year, requiring more loading and unloading for rest stops.

Barlow says they are "scientifically incorrect."

"The argument from the activists was that we're leaving cattle on the trailer too long, but it's actually more detrimental to them the more you take them off and take them on and reload, that's when they get hurt and injured."

In the Conservative Party platform they pledge to ensure the regulations are based on complete evidence by postponing them until a review is conducted.

Through his role as Shadow Minister for Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and previous work as an Associate Ag Critic, Barlow is no stranger to the labour shortage facing the industry.

He says the Party wants to see a specific stream through the employment process which is dedicated to agriculture to ensure the process is lawful, timely, organized, and meets industry needs.

The platform released last week also outlines plans to compensate supply managed farmers who've lost market share because of free trade deals.

Barlow says they'll stick to their previous commitment when the Conservatives were in power and make sure farmers are compensated in a proper way.

"How that works, or what that looks like, we haven't made that decision yet. We'll work with our stakeholders to build that, but I think that a component of that has to be there's proof that the value of their quota has been impacted by additional market access."

Under the Conservative climate and environment plan, Barlow says they'll also be the first party to give farmers credit for their conservation efforts through improved practices and carbon sequestration.


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