National Local Food Day Act

An Act to establish a National Local Food Day

Sponsor

Wayne Stetski  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

In committee (House), as of May 30, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-281.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment designates the Friday before Thanksgiving Day in each and every year as “National Local Food Day”.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

May 30, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-281, An Act to establish a National Local Food Day

Latin American Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

June 13th, 2018 / 10:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House at this relatively late hour to debate Bill S-218.

Before I do, I want to make note of the hard-working people who allow this place to operate: the table officers, the pages, our Hansard reporters, Parliamentary Protective Service, food services, the bus drivers, and everyone who keeps this place going. They do an exceptional job, especially at this late hour. I would just point out that the Hansard officer today is a young man by the name of Sam, who is actually in the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs, which is the same college I attended at Carleton University. He is an exceptional, hard-working young man.

I would note that I am the 35th person to debate the bill tonight. I would note as well that those who have debated so far have been Conservatives, New Democrats, and even the Green Party. Unfortunately, those who serve as members of the government have not spoken to the bill.

Bill S-218 was introduced in the other place by our dear friend, our late colleague, the hon. Senator Tobias Enverga. Certainly, on a night like this when we are debating his bill, we all wish he was here with us, that he could be sitting in the Senate gallery observing this important debate. However, we lost him all too soon at the age of 61. In fact, he was attending a meeting of the Canadian section of the ParlAmericas, travelling with the Canadian section to Colombia when he passed away so suddenly. Tonight our thoughts are with his family, his dear wife Rosemer and their three daughters. As we have heard, his daughters were truly his inspiration for a variety of different things, including his support of Canadians living with disabilities. One of his daughters lives with Down's syndrome and was always a support to him.

As members will know, before being elected, Senator Enverga was a trustee in the Toronto Catholic District School Board. In fact, when he was elected to that position, he became the first Filipino Canadian elected within the city of Toronto. When he was appointed to the other place in 2012, it was the first time a Filipino Canadian had been appointed to the other place. In the 145 years, to that point, of Confederation, Senator Enverga became the first Filipino Canadian to be appointed to the Senate.

When I rise to debate the bill, an act respecting Latin American heritage month, I think of the many Canadians of Latin American descent who came to Canada to build a better life for themselves and for their families. I think of a good friend of mine, Sebastian Ortega. His parents, Julio and Carmen Ortega came from Peru to Canada in 1993. They are now proud to be living in Canada and their family is contributing to our great society.

When the bill was introduced in the other place, Senator Enverga rose on March 8, 2016, to state:

I came to Canada as an immigrant, and I am one of many in this chamber who have been fortunate to be welcomed here to contribute to our society. Few countries in the world are as open and accepting to people who come from other countries to settle and make a new life for themselves as our country is. The Canadian policy of multiculturalism is a great success when it comes to allowing for, and celebrating, the various cultural backgrounds and languages we have.

I would echo those comments from the late senator. By passing Bill S-218 we are able to celebrate that great diversity. We are able to celebrate that history of multiculturalism that we see in this place, that we see across the country, and that we see in each of our ridings.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 there were 674,640 Canadians living in Canada who are of Latin American descent. Indeed, in my own riding of Perth—Wellington, a strong rural community, there are 1,570 Canadians who are of Latin American descent. It is important that we recognize and celebrate this contribution to our great society.

There is precedent for a bill of this nature. The House and the other place have, in the 42nd Parliament, designated a variety of months or days for symbolic cultural purposes. The month of May was designated as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month. Motion No. 124 designated the month of January as Tamil Heritage Month. Motion No. 64 dedicated the month of June as Italian Heritage Month. Motion No. 73 dedicated the month of October as German Heritage Month. Coming from a riding with a strong German presence, we certainly appreciate that recognition. Motion No. 126 dedicated the month of June as Portuguese Heritage Month. On the Order Paper, as we speak, Bill C-317 would designate the month of October as Hispanic heritage month, and Bill C-376 would designate the month of April as Sikh heritage month.

I have minor concerns about some of these bills, and they are mathematical in nature. We only have 12 months in the year, and there is some duplication and overlap in months. That is a concern for some. For example, the bill we are debating here tonight would designate October as the said month for Latin American heritage month, which would fall in the same month as Oktoberfest and German Heritage Month. There is an overlap. It is not an insurmountable overlap or a significant concern that would delay the passage of the bill, but it is something we need to recognize, and ensure that we are cognizant of these points when we are debating this issue.

For example, we have already passed in this place the designation of the month of June both as Italian Heritage Month and as Portuguese Heritage Month. We can enjoy and celebrate both those important contributions by recognizing these days.

I would note that earlier tonight, the member for Huron—Bruce provided an exceptional overview of some of the contributions Latin American players have made to the great sport of baseball. In my riding of Perth—Wellington, we are home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and the induction ceremony is this weekend. Madam Speaker, if you are free, we would welcome you at the induction ceremony, where they will be honouring Pedro Martinez, who was born in the Dominican Republic and will be inducted for his time with the Montreal Expos. I am looking forward to that celebration this Saturday, and I invite all members to join us on Saturday when we make that induction official.

I would like to conclude by saying how important I think it is to recognize the month of October as Latin American heritage month, and I would like to conclude with the words of Senator Enverga. He said, in the other place:

Declaring the month of October as Latin American heritage month will be a wonderful opportunity for us to contribute to our collective story, a uniquely Canadian story increasingly filled with symbols of multiculturalism, a shared history that has led us to the society we now live in where our rights and freedoms are protected under the principles of peace, order and good government.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 30th, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-281 under private members' business.

Bill C-281. Second reading

The House resumed from May 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-281, an act to establish a National Local Food Day, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, I am proud to wrap up the second reading debate on my private member's bill, Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day for Canada.

I want to thank all the hon. members for their speeches, for their support, and for making me very hungry and thirsty. I want to thank my staff for their amazing work on this important initiative.

When I last spoke in the House on Bill C-281, I highlighted a number of local food producers and initiatives in Kootenay—Columbia. Over the recent break week, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Creston Valley, which in many ways is the agricultural heart of my riding. As I noted in my previous speech, the Creston Valley grows virtually every variety of vegetable, wine grapes, apples, and other kinds of fruit. The Creston Valley is also home to Tabletree juice, whose black cherry juice was recognized as the world's best pure juice product at the World Juice Awards in 2012.

I am not sure if members are old enough to remember a time when milk came in glass bottles. Thanks to Kootenay Meadows Farm, it still does in much of the Kootenays. The Harris family dairy farm produces fresh organic milk that is delivered in reusable glass containers.

Remember those wine grapes I mentioned? For an amazing Kootenay—Columbia culinary experience, try pairing a vintage wine from Skimmerhorn Winery and Vineyard, Wynnwood Cellars, or Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery with any of Kootenay Meadow Dairies' organic hard cheeses.

I have to say that I love the saying, “If God grew it, I can brew it.”

I know that just as I am passionate about local food in my riding, Canadians in every region are passionate about local food in their communities. I have heard from many Canadians across the country about what local food means to them.

Jolene, from Aldergrove wrote:

I think the most simple way that can put it is connection....

I am certain that through the generations, we've lost our connections to food. What food is, how to prepare and how it is grown. I changed because I don't want my children growing up to think that food is something frozen, that you buy at a grocery store and put in the microwave.... I want them to know that a lot of people work very hard for the food we put on our tables and some of them grow so much food and still can't put food on their own tables to eat. I also want them to know what a clean, healthy, sustainable farm looks like....

I can't imagine a better place to change the world for the better than helping people who've lost touch with their food, come back into connection with it.

Hélène, from Brossard, wrote, “Eating local food is important to me as it encourages people here who work hard to make a living.... When you consume food from the other side of the world, it takes longer, it pollutes the planet more”.

John, from Sudbury, wrote that national food day:

is a good idea on several fronts—economic, social, health and environmental. It would be a boost to the local economy for farmers. Rural communities and surrounding towns and cities would be more socially connected....

This idea is a winner and should be supported.

The Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition wrote:

Focusing attention on healthy, high-quality locally grown food will support our farmers and fishers, keep jobs in our communities and strengthen the local economy....

We envision an integrated and resilient local food system that enables physically accessible, culturally acceptable and affordable food for everyone, supports a sustainable food economy, and empowers food literacy and capacity building within the community. Let's celebrate these values with a National Local Food Day this October.

Whether people's local food is the caribou and arctic char of the north, the seafood of the coasts, the artisan cheeses of Quebec, the ice wine of Ontario, the pork of Manitoba, the beef, grain, and prairie oysters from the Prairies, the traditional foods of indigenous people across Canada, or anything in between, a national local food day is for them.

I have always said that it is easy to love Bill C-281. It is my sincere hope that all members will vote in support of this bill at all stages. We all know that food matters, from farm to factory to fork or from gate to plate. Let us make national local food day a reality.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
See context

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, because local foods are delicious, nutritious, and good for the local economy, and in every way help innoculate us against the impacts of climate change, and employ young people who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit, it is such a pleasure to stand up to laud some of the successes in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith and the local foods movement.

I think first of Eric Boulton. Mr. Boulton is well into his 80s. He is a long-time farmer from my island, Gabriola Island. He still drives his tractor. He still fights the province on meat slaughtering regulations. He went all the way in fighting the previous Liberal government on that. He and his daughter, Alexa, donate beautiful, locally grown turkeys to the People for a Healthy Community spirit feast at Christmas every year. They are major donors and players in the community. Village Food Market, the local grocery store, especially under the leadership of the McCollum family, always has Alexa and Eric Boulton's beautiful grass-raised beef in the aisles of our market's shelf. It is great to have local foods so easily available.

Nanaimo Foodshare is teaching local people how to buy food in season, how to cook from scratch, how to reduce food waste, and how to compost. Funded by a provincial grant, it has a gleaning program that has saved over 400,000 kilograms of fresh produce in one season alone. That gets local food on the tables of people who need it the most.

Then there is Gabriel's on Commercial St in Nanaimo. Members must try their roast vegetable eggs bennie. It is fantastic. The place has doubled in size. It is a restaurant fully committed to local foods and sustainability. With compostable, takeout containers and all, it really walks its talk.

The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce celebrated local foods with a massive “feastival”, headlined by chefs and vintners. This year, on June 21, it is carrying on that tradition in its commercial street market, the night market.

COCO Cafe employs persons with disabilities. They cook and cater. This is in Cedar, B.C. It is the centre of the Cedar community. These fantastic young people are learning skills like cooking soups and baking breads and pastries from scratch. They develop these skills then take them home to their own lives. It is creating employment opportunities for people who might not otherwise get them. COCO is a place we are all really proud of.

The Farmship Growers Cooperative grows ethical, healthy, and natural produce for our region, and its co-operative model is creating more opportunities for farmers, protecting farmland, and increasing local food security.

Since 1961, St. Jean's has been doing value-added seafood. It does custom sport fish processing. It has natural hardwood smoked and hand-packed seafood that is distributed across North America. Even better, in 2015, the Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Limited partnership became the majority owner. St. Jean's is headquartered in Nanaimo. It continues to prosper and grow as one of Canada's leading quality seafood producers. Again, that is right in Nanaimo.

Loaves and Fishes' food bank has a program called Food 4U. It is a food recovery program that is run with the help of 700 volunteers in our community of Nanaimo. In partnership with local grocery stores, it ensures that perishable foods that would otherwise go to landfill are utilized by other food banks, faith organizations, and people in need throughout the community. It rescues what would cost more than $2 million at grocery stores every year. People who might otherwise go to a food bank are getting real quality local food. It is such a point of pride for us. Forty non-profits and schools use its Port of Nanaimo food centre store every week.

If folks at home want any more details on any of those last four groups I highlighted, they can look at my little MP's calendar for 2018, where we have profiled each of these groups. They can call my office in Nanaimo if they did not get one in the mail.

From the Canada summer jobs grant, this year we got over $65,000, or 10% of the Canada summer jobs grant, which in our riding went directly to local food and sustainability groups. That supported 17 summer jobs with some of the businesses and NGOs I have already mentioned as well as the Small Scale Food Processor Association, the Vancouver Island Exhibition, Farmship Growers Cooperative, Generation Farms, and Meal Exchange.

Craig Evans, from the Growing Opportunities Farm Community Co-op, said that it “will help expand our programming on our five acre urban farm and support meaningful skills training and experience for youth with disabilities in our community. It’s opening up opportunities to strengthen food security and urban agriculture in our region.”

There is more local food flavour in our riding, such as Cedar Farmers' Market, Lantzville Farmers' Market, Gabriola, Nanaimo, and Bowen Road.

We drink alcohol locally, too. Mike, from Arbutus Distillery, in Nanaimo, is raising the bar, with 100% B.C.-sourced products from the distillery's own herb garden. Tyler, from White Sails Brewing, Harley, from Longwood Brewery, and Kevin, from Wolf Brewing, are all award-winning brewmasters. They also curate local festivals to highlight the benefits of buying, drinking, and eating locally. It keeps the money and employment in our community as well as all the health benefits that comes with that.

What do all these local success stories have in common? They are all part of the burgeoning local foods movement. The Council of Ontario Universities tells us that 96% of campuses have local food initiatives, 86% have a community or teaching garden, and 77% have a local farmers' market. There is big appetite for this.

Farmers' markets alone are estimated to contribute over $3 billion to local economies annually, and we really need it on Vancouver Island, where 95% of our food right now is imported from off island. Therefore, it is a security issue for us as well.

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance has recognized this and is promoting local foods in a new and innovative way. It has an “Island Good” tag, and in co-operation with Thrifty Foods, Country Grocer, Quality Foods, and the 49th Parallel stores, in a pilot started this March, they label local foods to make the local products easier to find. I hope I am not scooping VIEA, but I have heard that in just three months, it has created a lift in sales of 17%, and this is a brand new pilot.

Let us do more of these, and let us support the legislation from my colleague, the member for Kootenay—Columbia. His Bill C-281 would designate the Friday before Thanksgiving Day every year a national local food day. This is following in the great tradition of New Democrat MP Malcolm Allen and a long history of New Democrats who have stood up for the environmental, economic, local economy, and youth employment benefits of local foods.

To conclude, I will give special thanks to the farmers of Gabriola who feed me personally, including Watercliff Farm, Stephen Levesque, and Tamaya Beale; Graham, for all his pep talks on the ferry; and Rosheen Holland, for her dignified and big-hearted support of young farmers, me, and other activists in the community. I am grateful to be fed by all of them, and I look forward to celebrating them more.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in support of my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia and his private member's bill, Bill C-281, which would designate the Friday before Thanksgiving each and every year as Canada's national local food day.

When Canadians hear that we are debating a national day, the first thing that comes to mind is the associated costs that come with any national day. Fortunately, this bill spells out exactly that this designated day would not be a legal holiday or a non-juridical day. Furthermore, any costs, even at the promotional and awareness level, I believe, would easily be countered by the good this day would do in promoting our local producers' farm products.

What are the other provisions in Bill C-281? One of the things that the bill focuses on in its preamble is Canada's national sovereignty and how it is dependent on the safety and security of our food supply. Fortunately, our agricultural industry is thriving and our unique Canadian brand, for the most part, is recognized around the world, and will be as long as the Prime Minister avoids another disastrous trade trip.

In our grain and pulse industries, for example, we have an advantage from our cold climate, which minimizes the risk of pests and other food contaminants. Canadian grains and pulse production is usually given a waiver when it comes to applying decontamination treatments when we ship these products abroad. Our strict regulations makes our food not only safe to eat here at home, but also a prime product for our international customers and trading partners.

The bill also speaks to “strengthening the connection between consumers and producers of Canadian food” and looks at the relationships within our nation's social, environmental, and economic well-being. To this point, I have always said that the true environmentalists are those who live off the land and work tirelessly to maintain it for generations to come. They are not easily influenced by the numerous vested interests of local and international eco-activists who see Canada as a social experiment to be manipulated, because there is money to be made from both rising and falling markets. We need to stand up and fight back against this manipulation.

The foreign money and influence that decimated our oil to and gas industry tend see our other resource sectors as just as vulnerable. We need to shift the focus back on what makes us great. Local farmers, ranchers, and producers have long contributed to our world-renowned sustainable Canadian agricultural industry, long before the Liberals or the so-called progressives co-opted the words “green” and “innovation”. It is about time that we recognize the contributions of our hard-working local growers and producers.

To advocate for our farmers and producers was one of the reasons I decided to run for office. As a farmer myself, and coming from a multi-generational family farm, I know firsthand the passion and the hard work that goes into this very important profession. In my riding, I am always proud to talk about some of our own local producers, from local nurseries, to beekeepers, produce growers, ranchers, farmers, and the community markets that feature our local products. Local farmers' markets are abundant throughout the entire growing season and people from all over the riding make a point of stopping by to get fresh off-the-farm products. As the farmers who supply these markets expand their brands and businesses, consumers feel a closeness with the producer that is very rewarding for both parties. Local abattoirs have fresh meat for sale, produced by local farmers and ranchers, which adds to this unique relationship from farm to fork.

Some may point out that we already have a nationwide celebration of local Canadian cuisine in early August known as “Food Day Canada”. That specific awareness campaign is certainly important from a culinary perspective, but the celebration of harvest, which I believe is the purpose of a national local food day in early October, would give us the opportunity to concentrate on our local growers and producers.

I find it fitting that my colleague strategically aligned this national food day after the year's bountiful harvest and close to our Thanksgiving holiday when Canadians take some time away from work and come home to reflect on everything that has made them thankful. This would be a great way to support our agriculture industry. A nationwide celebration of local food would also encourage Canadians to appreciate and buy more locally grown and produced food.

As we continue with the subject of appreciating our local food, I also want to draw upon my childhood growing up on a mixed farm, where I learned about the importance of the family garden and the many realities and practicalities when it comes to dealing with livestock.

For example, one is taught the concept of timeliness and freshness when it comes to freshly butchered chicken or the importance of properly feeding and caring for the swine and cattle that would eventually find their way into the deep freeze. Picking and preparing berries and vegetables to be made into jam or pickled goods for the winter was also another common chore on the family farm. I remember certain practices and foods that some Canadians would most likely question, like harvesting and preparing certain garden weeds that took the place of spinach, or in making an effort to use all parts of an animal by boiling or pickling. That was simply our way of life.

My late mother was also able to make wine out of anything, no doubt thanks to her Saskatchewan heritage and ingenuity. Most members may have heard of elderflower wine, but Mom had some pretty colourful recipes, like dandelion wine. It was commonly said that “If God grew it, she could brew it”. It was certainly a great way of getting us kids to pick dandelions.

Let me quote my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia when he stood in the House to debate the bill for the first time. He said that “Food is at the heart of our homes, our communities, and our economy.” I could not have expressed that sentiment better myself.

Our agriculture and agrifood sector is not only vibrant and innovative, but also a huge part of our economy, contributing more than $100 billion in revenue. This all too important industry provides one in eight Canadian jobs and employs 2.3 million people. The food and beverage processing industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in Canada, and is Canada's largest manufacturing employer. Our farmers, ranchers, producers, and manufacturers are not only responsible for the food on every Canadian dinner plate nationwide, but also for the world-class food products in markets and on dinner tables around the world.

Why is this knowledge of food preparation and production so significant when it comes to recognizing the locality of food?

I submit that it is more than just about trying to come up with some geographical recognition, or figuring out the length of time that a product stays on a truck on its way to the grocery store. It has to do with understanding how important Canada's food production system is, not only to the local community but also to the entire world, as more and more Canadians become further removed from the humble family farm.

Generations of kids now have little or no connection to the practicalities that come from growing up on the farm. It becomes easier for them to get confused and persuaded by contradictory marketing and certain political messaging until they either have no idea what to believe or they start to lose faith in our locally grown food and products. This is such a shame when Canada is known for growing and producing some of the world's best and safest food.

This is not to say that the choices people make should be criticized, but people should at least be given proper information so that their decisions and convictions are at least informed and based on scientific fact.

Canadians should be connected to their food and need to understand why a certain practice exists and why certain things have to be done to make sure that their food is safe to eat. This could come from a national local food awareness day. If we start to understand our farmers and the food they grow, we become better advocates for ourselves and our food wherever we are in the world. I am sure that every member would agree with me when I say that we should all know and understand where our food comes from, how it is grown, produced, and manufactured.

I am proud to give my support to the member for Kootenay—Columbia and Bill C-281. A national local food day would be a great chance for communities across Canada to come together and celebrate their local farmers, producers, and, of course, their local food. Such a celebration would be a great opportunity for everyone to appreciate the work that our Canadian farmers and producers put into ensuring that the food on our tables continues to be the best in the world.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Madam Speaker, I too would like to applaud the work of the member for Kootenay—Columbia for introducing what I think is an amazing bill. It will support our farmers and food processors, and all those Canadians who are part of or impacted by the agriculture and food sector in our strong economy.

Our country is a food superpower, and I do not say that lightly. In fact, we are the fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agrifoods in the world. We are blessed to have the land and resources needed to help the world meet its ever-growing need for food, by producing more than we need to feed our population.

Our exports are known in the global market to be reliable, safe, innovative, and above all sustainable. That is all part of our Canada brand, our narrative.

The vast size and complexity of our food systems are worth consideration. The industry generates one in eight of our manufacturing jobs, over $110 billion of our gross domestic product, and over $64 billion of our exports. From gate to plate, agriculture is one of the key growth sectors of our economy.

Canada's innovative processing industry supplies approximately 70% of all processed food and beverage products available in Canada, and it is the largest customer for our farmers.

All Canadians can share their beloved local foods with the entire planet to help feed the growing world population with sustainable foods. That is why the objective of the new Canadian agricultural partnership is to build a strong agriculture sector. The Canadian agricultural partnership is Canada's five-year agricultural policy framework. It outlines a bold new vision that will help the agricultural and agrifood sector innovate, grow, and prosper.

On April 1, ministers of agriculture from across Canada launched the partnership as a shared vision for the future of Canadian agriculture. Over the next five years, our governments will invest $3 billion in the partnership. Over $1 billion of that investment will support federal programs and activities to revitalize Canadian agriculture. These programs will focus on the following three key areas: growing trade and expanding markets; innovation and sustainable growth of the sector; and supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector.

In supporting this bill, let me begin with the observation that a robust local food industry does not need to compete with farmers who export to world markets. In fact, many farmers do both. All production is local, whether it is consumed locally or on the other side of the world. As the member of Parliament for Steveston—Richmond East, I have berry farmers who produce for the local market, be it in Vancouver, Richmond, or Kelowna, but who also export to Asia, be it in Japan, China, or Korea.

If we think of our vibrant organic sector, it is so much more as well. For example, today the market for certified organic products in Canada is over $5 billion, making us one of the largest markets for organics in the world. Two out of three Canadian consumers buy organic. That is very good news for the many supporters of Bill C-281, both in this House and across this country, who believe in the merits of a national local food day. We are not just talking about small producers; increasingly, we are seeing large-sized, more traditional operations that are gradually converting from conventional to organic production. In Saskatchewan, a 40,000-acre grain farm is converting to organic. In my neck of the woods, in Steveston—Richmond East, a significant organic blueberry farm just converted from traditional blueberries. It is also setting aside a section for traditional farming, once again proving that farms can do both.

I am pleased to say that our government over the past two and a half years has invested nearly $20 million in this innovative, dynamic sector. Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day, is an excellent initiative, and a special tribute to the great success of Canadian farmers, our responsible stewards of the land.

The government also recognizes the importance of strengthening connections between consumers and producers of food. Canadians are increasingly building bridges with local farms and the hard-working farmers they often meet in the colourful farmers' markets across this country. I have the same situation in Steveston—Richmond East. We have the Steveston farmers' market, where the local farmers, be they organic or the more traditional farmers, such as the May family, the Savages, produce food internationally. They also provide good, healthy, sustainable food, sometimes organic and sometimes not, for the local farmers' market. When I head over there and say hi to a farmer, or Canadians say hi to a farmer, we start to build trust because we know where our food is coming from. Local food is about increasing agricultural awareness among our consumers.

The future is bright for Canadian agriculture. We are lucky enough to live in a country with abundant high-quality farmland and a variety of local climates. We have some of the best icewines in the world. For superior-quality grain, we need look no further than the Prairies.

We are happy to support Bill C-281, because when Canadians shop locally, they are supporting the local economy and creating jobs locally, nationally, as well as internationally. Local food helps consumers build lasting relationships with local food producers. It also opens up economic opportunities and employment. It fosters community involvement and also creates a culinary tourism industry.

In supporting this bill, we are supporting the future of farming in this country. Heading down to a farmers' market, which I often do on a Saturday morning to the Steveston farmers' market, national local food day will not just be a way of enjoying solid organic vegetables, or wonderful blueberry ice wine, as enjoyable as that is, it will also be a great way to make the choice for a stronger agriculture and food industry in this amazing country that we call home.

That is why today I am supporting this bill.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today in the debate on Bill C-281, introduced by my colleague, the member for Kootenay—Columbia. I would like to thank him for bringing forward this bill, because it gives all of us in this chamber, no matter what our political affiliation is, an opportunity to talk about the great things that are going on in our ridings.

I am proud to be standing here, not only as the NDP's agriculture critic and as the member of Parliament for an amazingly rich and vibrant region, especially in food production, but also as the owner of a small-scale farming property. I would not go so far as to call myself a farmer; I have a very tiny property. However, it gives me peace of mind to be out there with our sheep and our chickens, as well as putting my hands in the soil and watching things grow from it. Seeing the results of the harvest in the fall is something many of us in this chamber can appreciate. When we talk to the farmers in our regions and get an understanding of the hard work they do on their individual farms to bring that amazing produce to market, it makes a bill like this so much better, because it would give official recognition to something that we all very much enjoy.

I like the fact that Bill C-281 would designate as national local food day the Friday before Thanksgiving. The Friday and Saturday are the days when people are starting to put together the menu for Thanksgiving. If we all recognize the Friday as national local food day, I hope that it would encourage more Canadians to pay attention to local food markets to bring some of that produce, which local farmers have worked on so hard, to their own respective tables and make Thanksgiving that much more special. We already have Canada's Agriculture Day, which we celebrated earlier this year, in February, but I like the appreciation that, in addition to celebrating agriculture as a whole, we would bring it down to the local level.

We all realize that food is not just a commodity. All animals and humans require food to survive, and food is very much a social determinant of health. We know there are a lot of people in Canada who suffer from food insecurity. Food security and food sovereignty have always been key issues to me. Canada is one of the countries that are very blessed, with the amount of arable land we have. Given the relatively small size of our population and the huge variety of growing regions we have in this amazing country, we should be a country that is able to produce food locally for everyone who needs it, not only the bare minimum amount, but also good, quality food. That is really what the conversation needs to focus on.

I am proud to belong to a party that has long had this as part of its mandate. In 2011, we ran on committing to introduce a Canadian food strategy that would combine health goals, environmental goals, and food quality objectives. In 2014, Alex Atamanenko and Malcolm Allen, former members of Parliament, brought together a landmark strategy paper called “Everybody Eats: Our Vision for a pan-Canadian Food Strategy”, focusing on going from the farm to the factory to the fork. The strategy was very comprehensive, and I am glad that maybe in some small part we have brought this conversation to the government, because the government launched consultations on establishing a national food policy. Last year, when I held consultations with the farmers in my region, the farmers were very vocal and involved, and we produced quite a comprehensive report based on all that feedback.

The other reason I like this bill is that it has to do with the concept of food miles. I remember going into a supermarket a few years ago and seeing apples from New Zealand and oranges from South Africa. I know that Canada is not much of an orange-growing region, but we do have a lot of apple orchards. It surprised me that there was actually a market for an apple to travel thousands of kilometres across the Pacific Ocean to Canada and actually be sold, when we have all these amazing local apple growers right here in Canada, and even in neighbouring Washington state. From where I am in British Columbia, Washington state is only a stone's throw away. Given the fact that we have amazing local food farmers who are able to meet this demand, we should try to focus more on making sure that food does not have to travel so far to get to our kitchen table.

I am also proud to come from a province which probably has the most diversified agricultural sector in the country. British Columbia has a variety of different climates given our mountainous province, and we are able to grow a lot of different things in many different regions. Depending on which valley and which part of the province people are in, they will always find a little niche market somewhere.

I want to bring it home and talk about some of the amazing things going on in my riding. Down in the southern end, we have the Goldstream Farmers Market, which is going to be held from May through to October this year, as it is every year. It celebrates all of the amazing agriculture that is going on in the west shore communities.

We have the Cowichan region, which is, believe it or not, Canada's only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone. We have the highest mean average temperature in all of Canada. This allows our farmers to get a head start on growing some amazing food.

We have the amazing rainfall in the winter and amazing sunshine in the summer. It produces an amazing agricultural bounty. This is on display. People can go to the Duncan Farmers' Market and find over 150 vendors. It is one of the largest markets in all of B.C. People can find everything from organic fruits and vegetables; local honey, cheese, and eggs; sustainably harvested seafood; meat from grass-fed and ethically raised animals; homemade jams, jellies, chutneys, and sauces; artisan breads, pies, pastries, and cookies; locally grown and produced wines and spirits; and even gourmet treats for pets.

To cap it off, we have amazing organizations, like the Cowichan Green Community, which is very much focused on local food security. It has worked on initiatives such as the Cowichan food charter and the Cowichan food security plan; projects like FruitSave, which tries to get people, like those who have a 100-year-old apple tree that they never eat all the apples from, to take that fruit to local markets; and, of course, getting kids involved in the joys of farming, and educating them all about it.

They produce a local food map which identifies all of the farms in the Cowichan region. It identifies 58 unique farms and businesses, all with something distinctive, fresh, and delicious to offer consumers.

We have the Alderlea Farm Café, people who have been involved in a farming venture. We have the Cowichan Valley tea farm; the Cowichan Valley actually grows its own tea. We have Farmer Ben's Eggs, and the Quist family farm.

There are a number of breweries, wineries, and of course I cannot leave out the amazing community of Port Renfrew, which I will say is probably home to the best wild Pacific salmon of anywhere in the country. I love the people of Port Renfrew. They have a real can-do attitude. It is very much driven by the amazing tourist opportunities and the amazing seafood they are able to produce.

With that, I will conclude by saying that I appreciate the member for Kootenay—Columbia bringing this bill forward. It is an important day to celebrate, and I certainly hope all members can get behind this amazing bill to help celebrate national local food day.

The House resumed from May 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

May 25th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, food is at the heart of our culture, our communities, and our economy. I am very proud of the many initiatives under way in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia in support of local food and for the leadership my party has demonstrated in the past on this important priority.

My private member's bill, Bill C-281, would establish a national local food day, giving all Canadians, including parliamentarians, the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of local food from coast to coast to coast. Will the government support Bill C-281 and a national local food day?

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 1st, 2018 / 6:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the floor had me at perogies, based on my Ukrainian heritage.

Agriculture, and local agriculture in particular, is essential for health across the country, but it is also essential for the economy. As I mentioned earlier, in 2016 agriculture contributed $111.9 billion to the economy and accounted for 6.7% of Canada's GDP. The agriculture and agrifood sector as a whole provides one in eight Canadian jobs, employing 2.3 million people. It is a major industry in Canada, essential to our economy.

What I really like about Bill C-281 is that it provides the opportunity for all members of the House to celebrate what happens in their own ridings every day and to celebrate their local food producers.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 1st, 2018 / 6:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

moved that Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House this evening for the first hour of debate on my private member's bill, Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day.

It is easy to love Bill C-281. I tabled this bill almost two years ago, and it has been a project filled with passion for me and my team ever since. Bill C-281 would designate the Friday before Thanksgiving each year as national local food day.

We all know that food matters, from farm to factory to fork. My history, like that of many members of this House, has its roots in local food. My Ukrainian father George's side of the family had their Canadian start as Saskatchewan farmers in the Yorkton area. My first paid employment as a youth was picking rocks and baling hay for farmers when we lived in Beechy, Saskatchewan.

On my Norwegian mother Solveig's side of the family, my grandfather and my uncles built a boat in The Pas, Manitoba, and put it on the Muskeg Express train to Churchill, becoming the first Europeans to harvest fish commercially in Hudson Bay.

Local food is truly a part of my heritage, and I know that is also true for many members serving in the House of Commons today. According to Statistics Canada, agriculture contributed $111.9 billion and accounted for 6.7% of Canada's GDP in 2016.

The agriculture and agrifood sector as a whole provides one in eight Canadian jobs, employing 2.3 million people. A little known fact is that the food and beverage processing industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in Canada, and it is Canada's largest manufacturing employer.

Food is at the heart of our homes, our communities, and our economy. Ensuring that Canadians have access to healthy, affordable food and a sustainable food system are national priorities. Supporting our local food systems is essential to achieving these goals.

A 2015 lpsos Reid poll found that 83% of Canadians think it is important to know where their food comes from. The Conference Board of Canada found that 77% of Canadian consumers think locally produced is important when making their purchasing decisions.

It is clear that a national local food day is something everyone can get behind. National local food day would provide an annual opportunity for Canadians to celebrate the diversity of local food across the country, while also providing an opportunity to draw attention to the very real challenges many face in accessing healthy, affordable food close to home.

British Columbians are proud of their local food systems, from farmers and ranchers, to fishers and hunters, to winemakers and craft brewers, to artisans and restaurateurs.

According to the 2016 agriculture census, small farms now comprise 40% of the total farms in British Columbia, more than twice the national average. The total gross farm receipts in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia exceeded $65 million in 2016 alone.

Across the country, one in eight Canadian farm operators uses direct marketing to sell his or her products to Canadians, through farm gate sales and stands, farmers' markets, community-supported agriculture initiatives, and other methods. It has been estimated that farmers' markets contribute over $3 billion annually to the Canadian economy.

The British Columbia Association of Farmers' Markets represents more than 145 markets across the province. A study it conducted in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia found that farmers' markets contributed $170.5 million to B.C.'s economy in 2012 alone. The association estimates that most markets are started by community members wanting to increase access to fresh, seasonal produce in their area.

Kootenay—Columbia is home to many farmers' markets spread throughout the riding: in Cranbrook and Creston, Nelson and Revelstoke, Salmo and Kaslo, lnvermere and Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford, Golden and Baynes Lake. Over the past two years, I have visited almost every one of these markets, and I am always struck by the passion our local producers and artisans have for the work that they do and, of course, by how delicious the food is.

From the dairy farms and orchards of Creston, to the Fernie Cattle Company steak house, to delicious coffee and craft beer everywhere, we really are spoiled.

My lnstagram feed is full of pictures from my riding of people who got out and enjoyed the sunny spring weather that has finally come to our great nation. That sunny weather has me thinking about Creston Valley asparagus.

I am looking forward to our next break week so I can stop by Sutcliffe Farms and watch the asparagus grow. I am not kidding: when the weather is hot in the spring, Creston Valley asparagus can grow up to one inch an hour. I know that when I speak of my riding, I often make reference to the snow-capped peaks of the Selkirk, Purcell, and Rocky mountains and speak of our world-class skiing and golfing, so members may be surprised to learn that the Creston Valley grows virtually every variety of vegetable, wine grapes, peaches, and even some citrus fruit. These local products are the basis for most of the meals served at the Farm Fresh Café in the Savoy Hotel in Nelson.

It is hard to say “café” and “Nelson” in the same sentence without conjuring up images of the beautiful Oso Negro Café, where people happily line up out the door to socialize, do their business, and drink some of the best locally roasted coffee anywhere. I say “some of the best” because Kootenay—Columbia is home to more than a dozen coffee roasters, including the Kootenay Roasting Company in Cranbrook, Stoke Roasted Coffee in Revelstoke, Steam Donkey Coffee in Kimberley, Kaslo's Bean Roasting in Kaslo, Zaltana Coffee Roasters in the Elk Valley, Rooftop Coffee Roasters in Fernie, Kootenay Coffee Company in Nelson, Bean Bag Coffee Roasters in Golden, Beanpod Chocolate Gelato and Coffee in Fernie, Stolen Church Coffee Company in Invermere, and of course Kicking Horse Coffee.

Kicking Horse Coffee is one of the largest employers in the town of Invermere. Its products are available across North America, and its annual sales are in the tens of millions of dollars. I had the pleasure of sharing a lunch with the CEO of Kicking Horse, Elana Rosenfeld, a few months ago. Elana is one of those bosses who goes to work every day with a smile on her face because she is passionate about her product, cares deeply about her employees, and is committed to the culture and community that helped shape her. Kicking Horse has been named a top-15 best workplace in Canada three times by the global research firm Great Place to Work. This year, Kicking Horse earned the top spot as 2018's best workplace in Canada for businesses with 100 to 1,000 employees and was also recognized as a best workplace for women and a best workplace for inclusion. We can buy Kicking Horse's delicious fair-trade and organic coffee at grocery stores across the country, including right here in Ottawa. I highly recommend that my colleagues pick up a bag.

Just down the highway from Kicking Horse Coffee is Hopkins Harvest in Windermere, a business started out of the back of a truck by Fred and Shelley Hopkins in 1995. It has since grown to what I would describe as one of the world's best roadside fruit and vegetable stands. It is now in a year-round market building, where customers can pick up freshly smoked wings or amazing pepperoni, in addition to produce sourced from local and regional growers. These days, Fred and Shelley's daughter Kerstan and her partner Matthew Larsen have expanded the business to include The Hot Spot, where customers can order delicious artisan pizza baked in a wood-fired oven and topped with locally produced ingredients, a great complement to local craft beer from lnvermere's Arrowhead Brewing Company. Also, they have gone green with their energy consumption. The roof of their store is covered in solar panels.

Speaking of craft beer, in Kootenay—Columbia, like most of B.C., we are spoiled when it comes to beer crafted specifically for local tastes. Torchlight, Backroads, Nelson, Fisher Peak, Over Time, Fernie, Whitetooth, and Angry Hen are all local breweries serving local restaurants and supporting local families.

Craft liquor is also a growing industry, led by producers like Bohemian Spirits in Kimberley and Pommier Ranch Meadery from Premier Lake.

I know I am making some members hungry and thirsty, so I will move on, but before I do, I also want give a quick shout-out to the 2017 Canadian craft brewery of the year, Mt. Begbie Brewing in Revelstoke, founded by Bart and Tracey Larson. Bart has a Ph.D. in nuclear physics, but, as he says, he prefers to make beer, not war, in Revelstoke. I hope he continues to do so for many years to come.

It is clear that along with connecting Canadians to those that grow and produce their food, our local food systems make important social contributions to our communities.

In my riding, the Revelstoke farmers' market has partnered with Revelstoke Community Connections on a food recovery program that has diverted tens of thousands of pounds of food out of the landfill and into the hands of the community's vulnerable citizens. Earlier this month, the Cranbrook Farmer's Market was honoured as the non-profit of the year by the local chamber of commerce at its business excellence awards.

The Cranbrook Food Action committee is a coalition of committed individuals and local organizations. Their work over the last 14 years has included organizing community kitchens, hosting community education events and workshops, laying the groundwork for the formation of the Cranbrook Farmer's Market, community food mapping, and creating the public produce garden at Eric MacKinnon Park, where everyone is welcome to seed, weed, and harvest food.

The Golden Food Bank serves more than 100 families every month, including through a food bank garden, where volunteers grow fresh, local produce for the food bank's clients. They have also participated in local school breakfast and food recovery programs. On Saturday, May 12, the Golden Food Bank is hosting a Fill-a-Raft food drive and BBQ, where community members will help the food bank fill a whitewater raft with food donations. Participants will be entered to win a rafting trip for two with the Glacier Raft Company. This is a wonderful example of a local community coming together to support a local food system that works for everyone.

Creston & District fields forward initiative is a partnership working to support local food and farming in communities from Yahk to Yaqan Nukiy to Riondel. Creston is also home to some amazing dairy farms, dairy products, cheeses, and wineries.

Fields forward's mission is to foster “a vibrant productive local agri-food system that builds genuine community wealth by supporting and sustaining the community's environmental, indigenous, social, cultural, economic and aesthetic values.” This collaborative network, made up of more than 80 producers, organizations, businesses, and local government, is currently piloting an important food venture collaborative, which will bring together private, public, and community partners to identify emerging market opportunities and to address shared agri-food infrastructure needs. Their mobile fruit and vegetable press project has been estimated to contribute almost $775,000 per year to the local economy.

The Conference Board of Canada has said that, “Local food can be a way for firms to illustrate their commitment to local communities and farmers”. Across this country, restaurants and food festivals have made this kind of commitment to local producers and communities by putting the focus on locally grown and locally produced products, and their success continues to grow.

In my riding, the West Kootenay EcoSociety promotes sustainable food systems through the Nelson Garden Festival and a number of community market events, including Nelson MarketFest.

In Revelstoke, the Local Food Initiative society hosts a variety of community events and education programs, including the Incredible Edible Film Festival, seed sales, local food dinners, youth food camps, and others, drawing attention and bringing a fresh perspective to a variety of food issues.

These are just a few examples of what it can look like when communities come together to support local food systems.

Local food looks different across all regions of this vast country, but at its core, food brings us together. It is, after all, more than a commodity. It is an essential human need, and it is at the centre of our culture and our communities.

I say to my colleagues that this is an important opportunity to celebrate what local food looks like to them, their communities, and their constituents. I invite my colleagues to get their constituents involved using #celebratelocalfood or #CélébronslAlimentationLocale from coast to coast to coast. Let us recognize the hard work of local producers and harvesters, food manufacturers, farmers' markets, and others. Let us work together to make national local food day a reality.

Cranbrook Farmer's MarketStatements By Members

April 27th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise today to recognize the Cranbrook Farmer's Market in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, which earlier this month was named Non-Profit of the Year at the local chamber of commerce's annual Business Excellence Awards.

Now in its 10th season, the Cranbrook Farmer's Market has a mission to host a vibrant market event for local food growers, artisans, and their customers. Its indoor and outdoor markets make it the place to be on a Saturday in Cranbrook.

I congratulate Livia Lara and her team for this achievement. It is well-deserved.

Food matters, from farm to factory to fork. I am proud that my private member's bill, Bill C-281, which will designate the Friday before Thanksgiving of each year as national local food day, will have its first hour of debate next Tuesday. I urge all members of Parliament to support a national local food day and to celebrate the diversity of what local food means to each of them and to all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

March 22nd, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Filomena Tassi

I call to order the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for meeting number 14.

Today on our agenda we have the determination of non-votable items pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(1). We're looking at Bill C-281, which I trust you all have.

Does anyone have any discussion on this?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodStatements By Members

October 20th, 2016 / 2:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week I was happy to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family in my beautiful riding of Kootenay—Columbia. On October 16, I celebrated World Food Day with the Kootenay conservation group, Wildsight, through its Food For Thought online summit.

The summit offered communities across the country an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion on what we can do to raise awareness about food security at a local level. Supporting and celebrating local farmers, food manufacturers, and retailers is essential to achieving food security goals.

As we take time this week to celebrate National Small Business Week, we should also celebrate all levels of local food production in Canada. That is why I was proud to table my private member's bill, Bill C-281, which would designate the Friday before Thanksgiving each year as national local food day.

Food matters from farm to fork. I urge all members of Parliament to support our local food businesses and national local food day.