Food-related issues are widening Canada’s rural-urban gap

For years, farmers have tried to tell their stories through social media and elsewhere – and too often failed

Food-related issues are widening Canada’s rural-urban gapFor years, farmers have tried to convey their message and explain the agriculture and rural lifestyle to the broader Canadian populace. They’ve taken to social media with touching stories and countless messages, telling Canadians what things are like on the farm. Some have called this “agvocacy.” But the new Canada’s Food Guide and recent policy…

Roll Up the Rim to Win needs an environmental reboot

Tim Hortons’ iconic campaign has been around for 33 years, an incredible run, but the circular economy has overtaken it

Roll Up the Rim to Win needs an environmental rebootThe entire Roll Up the Rim to Win campaign rests on the physicality of the cup. Almost 300 million cups are produced for the Tim Hortons campaign, which kicked off on Feb. 6 and ends in mid-April. But packaging is on everyone’s mind these days. Some winners have been required to send in the entire cup…

Food inspectors getting tough on olive oil fraud

Food fraud affects many food categories, but stakes are a little higher with olive oil due to potential allergens in substitute ingredients

Food inspectors getting tough on olive oil fraudOlive production in Italy was hard hit last year due to an early frost. The country’s production dropped by 57 per cent. Greece and Portugal suffered similar fates, along with pest issues, and saw their production drop by 35 and 15 per cent, respectively. Short food supplies generate economically-motivated adulteration, that is, adding a inferior…

Could guaranteed income help us cope with automation?

The disappearance of many jobs over a short period could severely strain our social welfare models

Could guaranteed income help us cope with automation?The revolution of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will be one of the most profound economic shifts of this century. It’s already well underway and public policy must meet the challenge. Populists on the left and right often blame free trade for North American job losses in manufacturing, though automation is actually the main culprit.…

Drinking the plant-based diet kool-aid

Canada’s Food Guide plant-based diet is, for the most part, elitist. Many of us can't indulge because of a lack of access, affordability or convenience

Drinking the plant-based diet kool-aidWhen the prestigious medical journal The Lancet published a 51-page report recently laying out a plan for a sustainable “planetary diet” that transforms how we eat and live, it made a big splash. The group of 37 experts, all members of the EAT-Lancet Commission, were keen to recognize the urgent need to change our diets…

Canada’s Food Guide: New dish, with a dash of condescension   

After years of celebrating our agricultural know-how, the guide has gone urban – and is more than a little patronizing

Canada’s Food Guide: New dish, with a dash of condescension   Say goodbye to the four food groups. Almost 12 years after the launch of the previous version, the new Canada’s Food Guide celebrates food by displaying a plate filled with greens, fruits, plant proteins and grains. And if you look very carefully, you’ll see a cup of yogurt alongside a piece of beef that looks…

CPP contribution hikes penalize workers, dampen the economy

When the government makes employment more expensive, the sure result is fewer jobs

CPP contribution hikes penalize workers, dampen the economyThe federal government began 2019 by taking a bigger bite out of workers’ paycheques: the combined employer and employee Canada Pension Plan payroll tax rose from 9.9 per cent of earnings to 10.2 per cent. It’s the first of five annual payroll tax hikes. By the time the CPP tax hike is fully phased in, a…

Food safety is up against a wall over U.S. government shutdown

Canada is by far the largest destination for U.S. exports of high-value agricultural products. But is that food safe?

Food safety is up against a wall over U.S. government shutdownThe U.S. government shutdown poses a threat to food safety in the United States and Canada. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for 80 per cent of all food facilities in the U.S. It announced recently that it has had to change its daily operations as a result of the partial shutdown, which…

The new era in food sales, from drones to virtual restaurants

Grocers understand that e-commerce only makes sense if consumers get convenience. That means delivery

The new era in food sales, from drones to virtual restaurantsGrocers can no longer afford to wait for money to show up at their stores. They need to go after it. Grocery e-commerce was barely a thought five years ago – retailers didn’t want to cannibalize sales and decrease foot traffic. The primary idea has always been to have more people in grocery stores, not…

Not all cannabis candies are created equal

Health Canada offers a framework for the sale of edible cannabis products before the October 2019 launch. Will we be ready?

Not all cannabis candies are created equalYou think October 2018 was complicated, wait until edible cannabis products are legalized by October 2019. It’s just a matter of time before the edible market represents the majority of the cannabis market in Canada. A study released last year suggested that 93 per cent of consumers supporting Ottawa’s legalization plans would try a cannabis-infused food…

Romaine calm returns but produce safety not guaranteed

If we don't mitigate the risks that come with relying on global food supply chains, one mistake will affect many

Romaine calm returns but produce safety not guaranteedWe went from a slew of alerts on romaine lettuce this fall to a series of clearcut recalls affecting various produce items – including romaine lettuce and cauliflower – when Canadian consumers were at their most vulnerable. At this time of year, the Canadians economy is particularly vulnerable when safety issues arise in imported produce,…

There is no compelling conservative case for carbon taxes

Carbon taxes discourage productive economic activity while rebate cheques do nothing to counteract this negative effect

There is no compelling conservative case for carbon taxesConservatives should oppose carbon taxes, despite arguments to the contrary. Last month, a pair of headlines questioned how conservatives could possibly oppose a carbon tax. One column, by political scientist Jim Farney, ran in the Calgary Herald under the headline: “Is there a conservative case against the carbon tax? Not really.” Then it was economist…

Loblaws wants to reap the online benefits of customer loyalty

The leading food retailer in Canada wants to become a true online contender to counter the Amazon effect

Loblaws wants to reap the online benefits of customer loyaltyLoblaws’ latest e-commerce move is significant. Canada’s largest food retailer has launched a subscription program for its PC Optimum members – more than 16 million people. For $99 a year, members of the newly-created PC Insiders program can get perks such as extra points for certain products purchased online, along with free delivery. This is…

Getting your veggie fix, from home and abroad

With El Nino on the way, vegetable prices will likely rise next year. But you can always opt for local produce – for a little extra cost

Getting your veggie fix, from home and abroadThe Food Price Report 2019 suggests that vegetable prices will go up by as much as six per cent next year. That’s significant because, unlike meat or fish, fewer alternatives exist when it comes to replacing vegetables. According to the report, recently released by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, El Nino will be…

Time to rethink the federal transfers system

Atlantic Canada enjoys a level of public spending that far outreaches that of the provinces that contribute most to equalization payments

Time to rethink the federal transfers systemIt is time for a fundamental course change by Atlantic Canadians with respect to equalization and other regional subsidies. I recently made a presentation to independent senators in Ottawa on this subject in which I said that Canada’s regional subsidies were ineffective. We've had a half-century of remarkably large subsidies to Quebec and Atlantic Canada,…
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