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Winter 2020
43rd Parliament

A week in Ottawa

I am sometimes asked what my time in Ottawa looks like so I thought I would share a bit about what happens while I'm in Ottawa.

There is no week or day the same. Some days my first commitment is as early as 7 AM (which is 5 AM in Alberta), and some evenings run until 9 or 10 PM.

And yes, sometimes with my schedule I have to be in two or three places at once just to fit it all in.

The below calendar shows my meeting commitments and Parliamentary obligations for a week. What you don't see in this picture is everything else that has to be done, snuck in between the back-to-back meetings.

I wouldn't change it for the world.

My Sunday evening is spent flying from Calgary to Ottawa. When I can, I take the red eye flight so I can squeeze every moment in with my family before I depart for a week away, but I do it because I love the job.

I enjoy hearing from my constituents, and my constituents love to share their thoughts! Every week I receive hundreds of emails, letters, messages and phone calls on a variety of different issues. For me, it is important to take the time to hear what my constituents are saying on issues that matter to them. I work to respond personally to emails as often as I can and receive regular updates from my team on emails and calls to the office from constituents who share their concerns. I do it because I enjoy what I do, and it is important to me to be connected to my constituents.

I'm regularly speaking to legislation in the House of Commons or studying Bills at Committee. It's important to me to have a full understanding of what the legislation is attempting to achieve and how my constituents feel about these proposed changes. My team provides briefs and studies on all the Bills coming through Parliament, and we work together, alongside other colleagues, to identify the strengths and weaknesses and any potential impacts as a result of the legislation. 

Just when we think we are organized, there is the other “stuff” that gets added in as the week progresses. I'm called on to do radio or TV interviews, I write press releases and news articles, tour constituents who might be in Ottawa or drop by, and of course there are speeches, statements and questions in the House of Commons Chamber. However, with all of this, no matter how crazy the day turns out to be, I absolutely enjoy it.

Most Friday nights I hop back on a plane and head home to Alberta to see my family, meet with constituents and attend community events. Although I might only have a day at home between sitting weeks, and some times it will be at a community event, it re-energizes me. For just that moment to see my family, to see the Foothills and the faces of everyone in our community, I am fired up and ready to go and do it all again.

I am all in for my constituents. I am all in for my community. I am all in for my country.

Community Shout Out!

Congratulations to Chris Koch (If I Can) on his incredible performance in the Dubai Marathon. You are an inspiration to everyone.

Chris was about halfway through the Dubai Marathon in January when he lost his right shoe. He persisted, and triumphed.

"A motivational speaker who travels the world, Koch said when thoughts of quitting creeped into his head in Dubai, his thoughts turned to the countless groups he's encouraged in the past.

"I want to keep pushing myself because I'm encouraging others to push themselves and raise the bar in their own lives."

You can read the full CTV article here, you will be inspired!

(Photo courtesy Chris Koch, from linked CTV article)

When it comes to productivity Canadian agriculture has always punched above its weight and modern Canadian agriculture has unleashed incredible potential.

What Canadian farmers, ranchers and processors are looking for is a champion to stand along side them.

One in eight jobs in Canada is directly related to agriculture and food production is by far the largest manufacturing employer in the country supporting more than 250,000 jobs. Modern agricultural practices have helped reduce carbon by 80 million tonnes and reduce diesel fuel usage by 200,000 litres per year.

By definition, agriculture is sustainable – I do not know of any farmer, rancher or grower who is not committed to protecting their land, the water and their livestock.

Yet instead of being a champion for Canadian agriculture Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal government is punishing hardworking Canadian farm families with a debilitating carbon tax.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has been dodging farmers by saying she is collecting data on the impact the carbon tax has on farmers. However, when asked about a full exemption for farm fuels from the Liberal carbon tax, she admitted her department is not collecting data on the impact the carbon tax has on Canadian agriculture. 

The evidence cannot be more clear.

Statistics Canada estimates the average costs per farm will be in the tens of thousands of dollars as the tax goes from $20 to $50 per tonne. Farmers have shown their energy bills and agriculture groups have done their homework.

According to APAS the Liberal carbon tax cost a grain farmer $10,000 last year. In 2022 Saskatchewan farmers can expect to pay $17,000 per year in carbon tax.

APAS President Todd Lewis said: “it’s comparable to having 12% of your pay cheque disappear.”

The Liberals are carbon taxing Canadian agriculture into bankruptcy.

The carbon tax could not have come at a worse time when farmers are drying their grain, heating their barns, paying for fertilizer and they cannot pass these higher costs on. This is on top of the loss of critical trade markets around the world impacting canola, soybeans, wheat, beef and pork.

This situation is clearly dire. In 2018 net farm income fell by more than 45 per cent thanks to the Liberal’s geopolitical bungles and punishing policies like the carbon tax.

Farmers are seeing their profits evaporate into red tape and taxes.

Producers are looking for a champion who will push back against the activists undermining our agriculture sector and help promote – from field to plate – what they do, how they do it and why they do it.

The Conservatives will continue to be a champion for modern Canadian agriculture.

Check out a couple videos of me in the House:
A grain operator in my riding told me he is going to be paying close to a million dollars in carbon tax over the next two years.
Farmers have endured the harvest from hell. Now their advance payments are due and they have no way of paying them back.

Where is the plan to ensure these illegal blockades are removed today and in the future? Let me put this in perspective. Every day these blockades are in place costs Canadian grain farmers $9 million.

Celebrating Canadian Agriculture

Agriculture is intricately woven into communities large and small across Canada.

As a nation, we came together on February 11th to celebrate the contributions of our farmers, ranchers and producers who put world class food on our tables.The Canadian agriculture and agri-food sectors account for more than $100 billion in economic activity every year and employ more than two million Canadians.

From every point along the value chain, Canadian agriculture is world-class, which is why the world wants more Canadian products. It’s safe, it’s affordable, and it’s delicious.

In order to help our farmers succeed, it is vital we continue to grow our international market opportunities.

Canada is the fifth largest net agri- food exporter in the world. Securing vital market access for Canada’s billion-dollar agriculture exports should be a priority when it comes to ways the government can promote and support Canadian agriculture.

Our farmers can compete with the best, but they need the tools and a level playing field to do so.

As Conservatives, we will always stand up for the reduction of red-tape and burdensome regulations against our farmers and agriculture sector.

We will continue to advocate for the removal of non-tariff trade barriers and reopening critical markets, reducing taxes and scrapping the carbon tax, improving transportation infrastructure, and supporting farmers and producers with mental health challenges.

As Conservatives, we are a champion for modern Canadian agriculture and we want to create prosperity and opportunity for this vibrant industry. We want to ensure generations to come will be able to carry on Canada’s tradition of the family farm, which has been the backbone of our country’s economic success, and rural way of life.

We encourage all Canadians to visit a local farm, learn about the food-value chain, learn about how we do it, why we do it and the families who work so hard to get your food from farm to plate.

To all our farmers, ranchers and producers, thank you for your stewardship, your passion and commitment. Thank you for feeding our families.

Here are some of our incredible hard working farm families from the Foothills!

Around Foothills

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John Barlow MP · House of Commons · Ottawa, On K1A0A6 · Canada