Canada province’s premier backs India’s farm laws, says they will yield results

Scott Moe, Saskatchewan’s premier, made the comment while participating in a webinar organised by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC)
Farmers shout slogans at a site of a protest against the 2020 farm laws at Singhu border near New Delhi. (ANI)
Farmers shout slogans at a site of a protest against the 2020 farm laws at Singhu border near New Delhi. (ANI)
Published on Apr 18, 2021 11:04 AM IST
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The premier of a Canadian province has backed the three farm laws passed by India last year that have been triggering protests in India and abroad, arguing that they will yield results in the long term as similar measures in Canada had seen a beneficial outcome.

Scott Moe, Saskatchewan’s premier, said, “Growth comes only with change, and change is not always easy. Growth brings great opportunity.”

He made the comment while participating in a webinar organised by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC).

Moe is the senior-most Canadian leader to have openly supported the reforms even as protests against the farm laws in India have been echoed across the country, with many residents of Indian origin, mainly those with roots in Punjab, opposing the changes envisaged in the new laws.

Moe compared the situation in India after last year’s agricultural deregulation measures to that in his province after the Canadian Wheat Board was abolished in 2012.

That board, somewhat resembling the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee system in India, had a monopoly over similar goods in western Canada, including in Saskatchewan.

A release issued by the ICCC based on the discussion said “reform fraught with initial uncertainty subsequently led to a revolutionary transformation of the agriculture sector in these provinces and especially in Saskatchewan, leading to a continuous and exponential rise in production and exports”.

Moe found more parallels between India’s journey in 2021 and Saskatchewan’s experience in 2012. He said the reforms brought challenges, but the province’s farmers adapted quickly to those changes, innovated, and were “far better off with the new opportunities. Saskatchewan’s grain exports nearly touched $17 billion and are rising exponentially”.

The previous system, he pointed out, had become “archaic and unworkable. It stifled growth, innovation and opportunity”.

Also participating in the discussion was India’s high commissioner to Ottawa, Ajay Bisaria, who said, “There is a broad consensus in India that in the agriculture sector, change is imperative. There is consensus on the direction and nature of the reforms. The conversation about reforms is informed by global experience.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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