Monday April 26, 2021 | COWICHAN VALLEY & NATIONAL
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
A national strategy to address the capacity of soils to produce food and fuel for years to come is needed in Canada. That’s the premise of a bill introduced today in the House of Commons by Vancouver Island Member of Parliament Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford).
Today MacGregor — who is the NDP agriculture critic — introduced legislation to create a National Soil Health Strategy for Canada. The bill encourages farmers and other land users with research, education, training, and knowledge transfer in best practices and will also establish an office of a National Soil Advocate.
“Healthy soils are the foundation of sustainable food production, enhanced biodiversity and cleaner air and water for present and future generations,” says MacGregor.
He says that Canadians in all regions depend on the ability to produce good food to help keep themselves, their families and the environment health. “Our soil plays a crucial role in supporting agricultural productivity and in meeting global challenges, including food security and climate change,” he said today.
The bill further requires the Agriculture Minister to consult with representatives of provincial governments, Indigenous governments and stakeholders in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.
Farmers are on the front line:
“Farmers are on the front line of the fight against climate change. Few feel the impacts of our ever-changing weather systems more than they do,” said MacGregor who himself lives on a small farming property on the Duncan area.
He explains that his bill today is about ensuring that farmers have the tools they need to keep doing their jobs to the best of their ability. “When we support our farmers and food producers, Canadians see the benefits in healthy food and a safer, greener environment,” MacGregor said. As such, stakeholders from across the country are supporting the bill, he said.
Supporters across Canada:
Given the scope of the importance of healthy food and growing it within Canada, today MacGregor’s office provided these quotes from stakeholders in the agriculture sector:
“Healthy soil is the foundation of farming and food,” said Karen Ross, Director of Farmers for Climate Solutions. “Climate change makes it imperative that we turn our attention to strategies that increase the resilience of our farmers and reduce emissions in our sector. Practices that enhance soil health and measuring impacts to understand how we can keep improving are fundamental to the future of farming in Canada,” she said.
The Chair of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, Kier Miller, says: “Canada’s oil is a precious and fragile resource that provides many benefits to all Canadians. Healthy soil cleans our air and water, creating habitat that supports biodiversity and helps mitigate climate change.” Miller offered his congratulations to Alistair MacGregor, MP, for his leadership in this regard.