Heavyweights from the farming and electronic entertainment industries held two separate events Tuesday, giving MPs, lobbyists and industry advocates the opportunity to mingle over current issues and the latest video game releases.
At the kick-off of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s two day annual general meeting, delegates took the opportunity to discuss prioritizing the Canadian food system during the impending 2015 election.
The CFA took a break from voting on policy resolutions to hear remarks by Ralph Goodale, former finance minister and current deputy leader of the federal Liberals, on how he sees Canadian agriculture moving forward during an election year.
Calling the current situation “unambiguously negative”, Goodale highlighted specific issues he’d like to see government attention on including water resource management, reliability of grain transportation by rail and costly Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) regulations in the U.S.
In a Q&A session with delegates, Goodale was asked to share his thoughts on the current labour shortages within the agriculture industry.
He said the embattled Temporary Foreign Worker Program needs a more sensitive “calibration” that could include collecting labour market data on a community level to make decisions on which sectors and regions would benefit most from using the program.
Later, attendees gathered for a reception in the penthouse panorama room of the Delta City Centre in Ottawa for canapés, gourmet turkey sandwiches and the chance to hear Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz present his outlook for the industry in advance of the election.
Ritz was joined at the reception by Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, and was asked about the TFWP labour issue, ongoing rail transport issues and chemical regulatory harmonization with the U.S.
He said pushing for a fix to COOL regulations, which are costing the livestock industry more that $1 billion a year, would continue to be a priority. Overall, Ritz said agriculture production in Canada would have to continue to rise to meet the needs of a growing world population.
Video game showcase a hit
At the eighth annual Entertainment Software Association of Canada showcase, MPs, staffers and lobbyists had the chance to try out the newest in video game entertainment.
Over hand-held poutine and creamy macaroni and cheese snacks, attendees tested out the latest incarnation of games like Nintendo’s Mario Cart, PlayStation’s Little Big Planet 3 and Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts–The Great War.
ESAC President Jayson Hilchie says the event was the biggest yet.
Several consultants from Temple Scott Associates Inc., including senior executive Don Moors, stopped by the event. Temple Scott is registered under Moors to lobby federally on behalf of ESAC on copyright legislation, international trade agreements and temporary foreign workers, among other files. Duncan Rayner, the firm’s vice-president, and associate Joshua Matthewman were also in attendance.
All words and photos by Lobby Monitor reporter Alyssa O’Dell, who unfortunately missed the opportunity to take a selfie with lifelong hero Super Mario.