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From Farm Crisis to Food Crisis: Neoliberal Reform in Canadian Agriculture and the Future of Agri-Food Policy

  • Author / Creator
    Wipf, Kevin G
  • This dissertation begins by providing an overview of Canadian agriculture policy during the first half of the twentieth century. It examines the origins of railway transportation subsidies, farm income subsidies, and the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), policy instruments that became structural features of the agricultural industry on the prairies. It then analyzes the structural pressures that led governments to rethink these features beginning in the 1970s, and the demographic and political context in which farmer support for collective institutions was eroded and neoliberal farm groups came to influence public policy over the decades that followed. Subsequent chapters examine the way that the federal government attempted to reform farm income subsidies in the 1990s and 2000s, in order to adhere to newly established international trade rules, and the relative success of those efforts. Two chapters are then devoted to the political struggle between the neoliberal and collectivist coalitions (farm groups, opposition parties, and governments) over the future of the CWB’s single desk. The second of these chapters focuses on the final political struggle that occurred once the Harper Conservatives won a majority government in 2011, and how the single desk was finally brought to an end. Two concluding chapters then examine the new politics that has emerged around issues pertaining to food security, food safety, and environmental sustainability in Canada, how these issues affect, but often fail to intersect with, the continuing debates about the future of Canadian farming. The dissertation ends by exploring ways that prairie farmers might make connections to these issues, and with the groups working on them, in order to ensure their involvement in the future of agri-food policy in Canada.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2013-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3998S
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Political Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Whitson, Dave (Political Science)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Goddard, Ellen (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Epp, Roger (Political Science)
    • Urquhart, Ian (Political Science)
    • Barney, Darin (Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University)