Economic remedies must support rural, farming communities, say municipal, agricultural leaders

    National Groups Call on Parties to Strengthen Rural Link in Supply Chain

    OTTAWA, Sept. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - As the global economy grows more
uncertain, Canada's leading municipal and agricultural associations are
calling on all party leaders to endorse a vision for prosperous farms,
sustainable communities, and a strongly linked rural-urban economy.
    Today Jean Perrault, President of the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, Quebec, and Laurent Pellerin,
First Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) sent a
joint letter to all party leaders asking them to endorse a four-point plan for
prosperous farms and strong rural communities.
    "If cities are the country's economic engines, then rural Canada provides
the fuel that fires those engines," said Mayor Perrault. "At a time when
economic uncertainty is growing, Canadians want to know that their government
is taking action to secure the foundations of our prosperity and quality of
life. That means keeping rural Canada strong and connected to domestic and
international markets."
    "Farms employ 250,000 Canadians and contribute eight per cent of Canada's
GDP," said Pellerin. "Our country's quality of life - and our day-to-day lives
- would be unimaginable without affordable, quality agricultural products."
    "The family farm feeds the economy - and it feeds the country," Pellerin
    "Without a commitment to provide the quality roads and bridges that farms
need to get their products to market, and without the water systems and
recreational facilities that communities need to attract and keep new
investment and jobs, the vital rural link in the national supply chain will
weaken, hurting our economy and quality of life," said Mayor Perrault.

    In their joint letter to party leaders, CFA and FCM outline a four-point
plan to bolster the agricultural sector and build strong, sustainable rural

    1. Develop and release a vision for rural and agricultural economic
       vitality within one year.
    2. Dedicate funding for rural communities in all federal infrastructure
    3. Revive the National Outlook agricultural conference and establish a
       timetable for addressing key agricultural issues, including business
       risk management, public goods and services, strategic growth and
    4. Strengthen the Rural Secretariat and appoint a Cabinet champion for
       rural issues.

    Mayor Perrault will be focusing on these issues when he addresses the
annual meeting of the members of the Federation of Quebec Municipalities (FQM)
in Quebec City at 12:45 this Saturday.
    "Canadians understand that this isn't a rural-urban issue - it's a
national issue with implications for our economy and quality of life," said
Pellerin. "By stepping forward and committing to these principles, party
leaders can show that they understand the most fundamental needs of Canadians,
and that they're ready to invest in the country's rural foundations."

    The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has been the national
voice of municipal government since 1901. FCM fosters sustainable communities
enjoying a high quality of life by promoting strong, effective and accountable
municipal government. With more than 1,750 members, FCM represents the
interests of municipalities on policy and program matters that fall within
federal jurisdiction. Members include Canada's largest cities, small urban and
rural communities, and 18 provincial and territorial municipal associations.

    Founded in 1935 to provide Canada's farmers with a single voice in
Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is the country's largest
farmers' organization. Its members include provincial general farm
organizations, national and inter-provincial commodity organizations, and
cooperatives from every province. Through its members, CFA represents over
200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families.

For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, Federation of Canadian
Municipalities, (613) 907-6395,; Janice Hall, Federation of
Canadian Agriculture, (613) 236-3633, ext. 2322,

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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