By Gerry Ritz
Canada has the best athletes and the best food in the world, and we’ll be showcasing both in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As Agriculture Minister, I’m proud to promote our great agriculture products around the world. On February 11, I’ll have the honour of hosting a special breakfast in Vancouver featuring talented and award-winning Canadian chefs who will showcase the very best of Canadian food to reporters from across Canada and around the world.
Canada is the world’s fourth largest agricultural exporter. Our farmers are among the most knowledgeable and innovative in the world, producing a wide range of products to meet the tastes of consumers the world over. When Canadian athletes step on to the podium, we know the safe, nutritious food Canadian farmers produce helped to get them there.
Bringing new opportunities to Canadian farmers is a promise this Government has kept since the day we first took office, and it’s one we continue to stand by today. Having grown up on a farm in Saskatchewan, bragging about Canadian agriculture comes easy to me. Since last January, I’ve led trade missions to more than a dozen key markets and wherever I go our message is clear: Canadian farmers grow the best food in the world and we’re here to sell it.
International trade is key to Canada’s Economic Action Plan because it’s more than a short-term fix -- it is about making strategic investments that will pay dividends for the long term. The trade relationships our Government is building right now will deliver economic benefits in our communities for generations.
As part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, our $32-million Canada Brand initiative is aggressively promoting Canadian agriculture in our most important markets around the world. The Canada Brand initiative is already re-invigorating our trade opportunities in key markets like Japan and Mexico. We’ll continue to work closely with industry to identify new markets for this initiative.
The Government of Canada is proud to showcase to the world the excellent, safe and high-quality foods our farmers provide at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Our farmers continue to prove that Canadian food truly is the choice of champions. Go Canada! Go!
Gerry Ritz, P.C., M.P.