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Barley Marketing Back On Table?

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Now back in session after the Olympics, the federal government has announced plans to put the thorny issue of Prairie barley marketing on its agenda.

In its throne speech, delivered by Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, the Conservative government said it plans to “ensure the freedom of choice for which Western barley farmers overwhelmingly voted.”

The speech didn’t specify whether the government plans to introduce new legislation to that effect or exempt Prairie barley growers from the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk by some other means.

Deregulating the Prairie barley market through legislation is currently an unlikely route, given the Conservatives’ minority-government status and a lack of support for barley deregulation among the opposition parties.

Also on the government’s agenda in the speech were “steps to support a competitive livestock industry and pursue market access for agricultural products.”

Furthermore, the government pledged “it will continue to defend supply management of dairy and poultry products.”

The speech also commits the government to “reintroduce legislation to protect Canadian families from unsafe food, drug and consumer products. Our government will respect the wishes of Canadians by reintroducing the consumer product safety legislation in its original form.”

The government also pledged to further sharpen its focus on bilateral trade agreements with other countries, in view of “the disappointing results of the Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations” through the World Trade Organization and a “rapidly evolving global marketplace.”

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