York-Simcoe MP Scot Davidson was recognized by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) as their 2022 Produce Champion this week.
In June, Davidson introduced Bill C-280, the Financial Protection for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Farmers Act in the House Commons, which would establish a deemed trust mechanism for fresh produce growers and sellers in Canada, ensuring payment in the case of buyer bankruptcy, when typically, their perishable product cannot be salvaged.
“There’s still a ways to go, but fresh fruit and vegetable farmers here in the ‘Soup and Salad Bowl of Canada’ and right across the country need this financial protection to become law, and I’m committed to making it happen,” said Davidson at a presentation at Gwillimdale Farms.
“It’s an honour to be recognized for being the Produce Champion," he said.
“Farming is obviously key in York-Simcoe, so it’s important to me to always listen to the voices. There’s been a need for this Bill for years. Farmers and industry have been crying for it in the fresh produce business and I’m happy to champion that.”
The event was attended by local farmers, agriculture sector stakeholders, municipal leaders, and area MPs Lianne Rood, Dave Epp, and Adam Chambers.
CPMA President Ron Lemaire applauded Davidson for his efforts, saying that Canada’s produce farmers were “thrilled to have found a true produce champion to help push this bill over the finish line.”
Bill C-280 is something Davidson feels passionately about after listening to farmers across Canada, and especially those in his riding in the Holland Marsh.
“At the end of the day, my main job as a member of parliament is to represent the views of the people that live here and us Canadians have a lot in common with our neighbours, but there’s distinct needs that fresh produce farmers have and priorities that differ from other farming operations,” he told BradfordToday.
“Let’s say you sell fresh produce and there’s a bankruptcy, you can’t just go and get your tomatoes and lettuce back, it’s all rotted," he explained.
"As far as financial protection goes, for fresh produce farmers, it’s unlike other industries that have bonding and insurance and supply management and those types of things. Whether it’s eggs, milk, pork—products like that—they’re an industry on their own and they have no protection.”
With the current government, Davidson says “agriculture is not a priority” and that’s part of what motivates him to be the voice of farmers in the House of Commons.
“Canada should be number one in agriculture, it should be an industry that the government and we as Canadians should always be pushing to become number one,” said Davidson. “We’re blessed in the Holland Marsh and in Canada to have some of the most arable land in the world.
"We’ve got to do everything we can to push that industry and make it number one. It’s my job to hold the government accountable and push for the industry I represent in York-Simcoe and that benefits other ridings.”
Prioritizing agriculture has been a major pillar of Davidson’s platform and having open communication with farmers in the riding has been a key to that, he said.
“One of the things I do best is to get out and listen: get out and listen to farmers in the riding and farmers across Canada to find out what their issues and needs are," he said.
"That’s why it’s so important as a member of parliament to be out in the community and talk to people and that’s why I try to be as active as I can. A lot of people ask me what I want to accomplish, it’s not what I want to accomplish, it’s what my constituents want to accomplish. This job is about people, it’s not about me," said Davidson.