Above watch: A bill that supports the government purchasing local food has been defeated, leaving many farmers and food producers angry. Laura Brown reports.
FREDERICTON – A bill focused on ensuring local food is properly labeled was defeated in the New Brunswick legislature Thursday.
Green Party leader David Coon’s Local Food Security Act would see only food grown and produced in the province labeled as local.
It would also see nursing homes, schools and hospitals serve a higher percentage of local food in their facilities.
The bill was defeated by a vote of 24 to 18, but not before groups in support of the bill heckled the Liberals for voting against it.
“Right now, local food can come from anywhere,” said farmer Jean-Eudes Chiasson, of Rogersville.
“In our small co-ops in Rogersville we see, every year, strawberries that come from the province of Quebec, and it is written local food on them.”
Agriculture Minister Rick Doucet says he didn’t support the bill because he doesn’t believe it needs to become legislation.
He wants all groups to meet with government and come up with a program.
“If we have all the groups, the farm growers, the associations, let’s talk with the commodity growers, the parts that are missing, including the fisheries sector,” he said.
But the president of the province’s National Farmers’ Union says they’ll continue pushing for legislation. Until then, Ted Wiggans says the local label doesn’t necessarily mean food grown in New Brunswick.
“It could be from across the border, it could be from across the country,” he said.