OTTAWA – This week, Kootenay–Columbia MP Wayne Stetski kicked off the first hour of debate on his Private Member’s Bill C-281, An Act to establish a National Local Food Day. The bill would designate the Friday before Thanksgiving of each year as National Local Food Day.
“Food is at the heart of our homes, our communities and our economy,” said Stetski. “Ensuring that Canadians have access to healthy, affordable food and a sustainable food system are national priorities.”
During the debate Stetski highlighted the economic, cultural and social benefits of strong local food systems, while referencing dozens of food producers, manufactures, retailers and food security groups from across the region.
“It was a real treat to share the successes of some of the amazing food businesses and organizations we have Kootenay-Columbia with MP’s from across the Canada,” said Stetski. “No matter where you are from, and no matter your politics, we all benefit from strengthening local food economies, and I was able to give a lot of examples of that from close to home.”
According to Statistics Canada, agriculture contributed $111.9 billion and accounted for 6.7% of Canada’s GDP in 2016. The agriculture and agri-food system as whole provides 1 in 8 Canadian jobs, employing 2.3 million people.
Establishing a National Local Food Day would give all Canadians an opportunity to celebrate our local food and recognize the hard work of local producers and harvesters, food manufacturers, farmers’ markets and others in every region across the country. It would also provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges many Canadians face in accessing healthy, affordable food close to home.
Stetski’s speech was well received in the House of Commons, with most MPs who had the opportunity to speak to Bill C-281 committing to supporting it.
“It was inspiring to hear stories about the value of local food has across the country, and to hear MPs from different parties supporting each other’s statements” said Stetski. “I look forward to more celebration and support of local food systems as this bill moves forward through the legislative process.”