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Growers discuss Ontario election results
Growers discuss Ontario election results

One farmer thinks PC minority may have been better for province

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

If this is the first news you’re reading this morning, Ontario has a new premier.

Voters signaled they wanted change as Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives (PC) captured 76 seats yesterday and will form a majority government. A party needs 63 seats for a majority.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) won 40 seats to become the official opposition. And the Liberals lost in 48 ridings, going from 55 seats to seven, losing official party status.

Along with Ford, NDP leader Andrea Horwath won in their home ridings. As did Kathleen Wynne, who announced she would be stepping down as leader of the Liberal party.

Some producers with whom we spoke are feeling optimistic about Ontario’s choice, but caution they will need to see how the new government performs before making a final decision.

“We’re cautiously optimistic with the change in government, but we’ll have to see where it goes,” Ken Bridge, a cash crop producer from Bruce County, told Farms.com today.

Some agreed that Ontario needed change, but suggest voters perhaps chose too much of it.

A minority government may have helped keep the PCs in check, said Mark Davis, a cash crop and hog producer from Lennox & Addington County.

“We needed a change in the worst way,” he said. “But I was kind of hoping for a Conservative minority. I’m a little concerned that they might get carried away with cuts.”

The next step for Ford is to assemble his cabinet for the next government.

Trade should be a key issue Ontario’s new ministers address, Davis said.

“We need access to foreign markets, especially the U.S.,” he said. “We’ve got to keep trade between our two countries going well.”

One pressing question for producers is who will lead the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Along the campaign trail, Ford announced he would appoint a farmer as the next agriculture minister.

Some farmers feel it would be beneficial to have a fellow producer in that role.

“Only a farmer can understand what farmers need,” Martin Deboer, a cash crop grower from Norfolk County, told Farms.com today. “If you’re going for heart surgery, you’re going to want a doctor working on you, not a car mechanic.”

Farms.com has reached out to the PC party for any information on who Premier Ford may choose as agriculture minister.