The Western Canadian Wheat Growers put out a scathing statement on Wednesday accusing the federal government of ideological capture and failing to base their 30% fertilizer emissions reduction target on science. 

In a press release, Wheat Growers president Gunter Jochum said Ottawa never took into consideration how the policy, first introduced in 2020, would impact farm yields. 

“More and more government departments are failing to deliver on their mandates, and are being ideologically captured. We see this in Agriculture Canada, and now in the office of the Chief Science Advisor.

“At a time of food insecurity and skyrocketing consumer prices for basic food staples, to fail to consider the impact on the food supply of fertilizer reductions is frankly appalling.“

Jochum was responding to a Feb.2 testimony by the federal government’s Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer who told Conservative MP Dan Mazier that she had not been consulted on whether the voluntary target for farmers would impact Canada’s food supply. 

“You have not personally seen any scientific reports or studies to suggest that the government’s 30% fertilizer emissions target can be met without decreasing food production. Is that correct?” asked Mazier. 

“I have not,” replied Nemer.

“You have not seen any science on that?” said Mazier. 

“Well, I haven’t seen any report on that,” said Nemer. 

Nemer’s mandate includes providing “advice on issues related to science and government policies that support it. This includes advising on ways to ensure that scientific knowledge is considered in public policy decisions and that government science is fully available to the public.”

As exclusively revealed by True North in the Fertilizer Files, the federal government has floated the idea of forcing a fertilizer emission reduction onto farmers via a carbon tax-like “regulatory backstop.” 

“A number of policy measures could be put forward for consideration beyond just a ‘voluntary agreement’,” wrote Agriculture Canada officials. 

“A suite of policy approaches will be necessary, and consideration to be given to a regulatory backstop should voluntary approaches not be successful.”