Compton-Stanstead MP Marie-Claude Bibeau’s life in the House of Commons took a turn for the unexpected when she was shuffled from Minister of International Development to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in March.
She was immediately tasked with a heavy workload regarding supply management and went head to head with China as the Asian country interrupted its importation of Canadian canola and meats. Bibeau sat down with The Record to explain the most recent developments in the high-profile cases.
“Diving into the agricultural dossier was exciting, but it’s a big and demanding ministry,” she admitted. “It was an overnight change from being the Minister of International Development, and it’s almost like being a hockey player that gets traded to another team. You lose what you had established. Now, there are many partners to meet, like grain producers, ranchers from out West, and dairy and pork producers from Quebec, for example. We deal with organic and manufacture farming as well international trade, science, innovation, and regulations. I really like being close to producers and meeting people in the field.”
Although she made her career in international development and tourism, Bibeau did not lose her bearings. “I had been close to dairy farmers and I had been following the supply management dossier since 2015. We’re currently finalizing the financial mechanisms and we’ll be announcing the compensation amounts in our budget,” she explained. “Because dairy, poultry, and egg producers all asked for different mechanisms, it takes more time, but we’re working closely with the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury Board. We’re distributing billions of dollars to thousands of producers in the country. We’re using public funds and we need to ensure proper management despite its complexity. This is the last step.”