Yesterday, May 13, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature to support Manitoba fishers. My comments, from Hansard, are below.
Mr. Gerrard: During this COVID-19 pandemic, one of the important and essential areas to all of us in Manitoba and in Canada is having access to a good supply of food. In this context, our agricultural producers and our fishers are very important.
But it has to be noted that, in addition to our primary food producers, individuals and businesses which support those in agriculture or fishing industries are also important.
We also rely critically on our food processing and distribution businesses, including grocery stores. This whole network of food production and distribution is of critical importance to us today as, indeed, it is every day.
I want to personally thank all Manitoba producers and all those who contribute to ensuring our food supply chain is intact and working well and that we have safe high-quality food. I say thank you, thank you, thank you.
Today our food producers are looking from help from our provincial government. And at this time when we have a COVID-19 pandemic… There are critically important measures which are needed for fishers. Fishers need extra storage capacity because of the current situation. There is an opportunity for the Province to work alone or with the federal government to make sure that there is that extra storage capability. I suggest to the members of the government that right now there is an incredible opportunity for fish and to market fish. In part, this is happening because of the closure of many meat-packing plants in the US and in Canada. Fish is an incredibly good source of protein. With a vigorous marketing effort, we could be marketing a lot of fish, I believe.
Furthermore, not only is fish an excellent food and an excellent source of protein, but studies have shown that eating more fish has been shown to improve the academic performance of children in schools because it's well known that fish is an important brain food. The government has been calling for a while to increase the academic performance of students in school. They should get to work and help market fish in Manitoba and elsewhere.
When I was in South Africa a couple of years ago, I came across a fish place where they sold fish, and there was a big sign in front, saying, eat fish to help your brain so you can be smarter and then you'll know that you should be buying more fish. The people in South Africa have got the message. Our government needs to get the message to smarten up, buy more fish, eat more fish and let's get going in this province to help fishers.
Manitoba Liberals support our farmers and our fishers. There is now an urgent need for the government to act, and we are in strong support of the resolution, the MUPI that's being brought forward. We call on the provincial government to act and support urgently farmers and fishers in our province.
Thank you. Merci. Miigwech.
Graph presented in a report on Brain Health which can be seen at this link https://www.jongerrardmla.ca/wcm-docs/docs/reports/brainhealthreport.pdf
Sign at the front of a fish shop in South Africa. It seems they are better at marketing fish than we are in Manitoba. Come on Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development, and Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Resource Development, it is time for you to get to work and promote the sale of fish in Manitoba just as you are doing for the sale of farm products.