Farmers, growers and producers need to tap into current agricultural support programs to help with the fallout from COVID-19 before any more money can flow from the Liberal government, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says.
Bibeau said there are billions of dollars available via the risk-management programs that have long existed to help the industry during times of crisis, and if farmers don’t apply for those funds, it hurts her ability to make the case for more aid around the cabinet table.
“We are a government who is proud of taking decisions based on evidence. We’re not taking decisions only based on emotions,” she said.
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On average over the last five years, Bibeau said, the government has put $1.6 billion into three different programs. Double that amount could go into them this year, she said.
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That’s on top of the funds inside the $252-million aid package announced earlier this month, a mix of old and new money.
“They just cannot say it is not good enough,” she said.
1:30Saskatoon Farmers’ Market reopens after some COVID-19 restrictions ease
Saskatoon Farmers’ Market reopens after some COVID-19 restrictions ease
Her message to farmers is blunt: