December 6, 2019

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Constituents making voices heard

Politicians get feedback on trade agreement

Brandon Sun A pro-Canadian Wheat Board group dumped a load of wheat outside of incumbent Conservative Larry Maguire's campaign office.

MATT GOERZEN / BRANDON SUN

Brandon Sun A pro-Canadian Wheat Board group dumped a load of wheat outside of incumbent Conservative Larry Maguire's campaign office.

ONE Manitoba politician said the Trans-Pacific Partnership is getting positive feedback in her riding. Another said he's had several worried producers visit his campaign office to talk trade.

And, one cheeky opponent of the new trade deal dumped more than 100 bushels of wheat in front of Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire's campaign office Monday, planting protest signs in the pile.

"Someone made a donation in the form of wheat, and we can only take cheques and credit cards,"àquipped Maguire.

He offered the pile of wheat on a local radio station's swap-and-shop show and later, with the help of a local farmer, loaded it up for donation to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun files
Larry Maguire (above, opening his campaign office in August), got a clear message about the deal after signs were planted in wheat near his office Monday.

COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN

Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun files Larry Maguire (above, opening his campaign office in August), got a clear message about the deal after signs were planted in wheat near his office Monday.

Despite the protest, Maguire called the TPP "huge for the region."

"When you allow more opportunities for trade, it is going to be a bottom-line plus for our area and maybe more of an incentive for more processing and jobs, which are generally high-paying jobs,"àMaguire said.

In eastern Manitoba, Terry Hayward, Liberal candidate for Provencher, said Canada is a trading nation and free trade should be the goal. But he said the devil's in the TPP's details, especially for complicated supply-managed sectors such as dairy and eggs.

Specifically, he said he's looking for clarity on how much access is being given to foreign products coming into Canada and how a compensation package touted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper will work. And, since the TPP could open up more markets for beef and pork producers, Hayward said he also wants to know more about protections for Canadian producers when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or some other health issue threatens to shut down trade.

Hayward said the TPP came up at last week's all-candidates debate in Steinbach, and since then, a half-dozen producers have stopped by Hayward's campaign office to talk trade — an unusual occurrence.

"There is a concern," said Hayward, especially in the rural municipality of Hanover. "It's a concern built on expectations rather than knowledge."

Hayward said he's concerned the full implications of the deal won't be clear until after the Oct. 19 election, when producer groups have had a chance to fully digest the deal.

Candice Bergen, the Conservative MP for Portage-Lisgar, said she's hearing "very positive" things about the TPP from her riding, where canola production is huge and could benefit from access to 800 million new consumers.

She said the deal protects the pillars of supply-management, and a Conservative government would compensate producers for any lost market share upfront, instead of making them prove their losses after the fact.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 7:50 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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