Ontario PC Agriculture Critic Says Splitting up OMAFRA was a “Big Mistake”
Ernie Hardeman Reacts to Wynne’s Decision to Separate Rural Affairs from Minister of Agriculture Portfolio
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
The swearing-in ceremony of Ontario’s new cabinet meant some new changes to the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs portfolio. Premier Kathleen Wynne took on Minister of Agriculture while taking away the Rural Affairs portion - handing it over to Jeff Leal.
In an exclusive interview with Farms.com, Ontario PC Agriculture Critic Ernie Hardeman shares his reaction to the change to the agriculture portfolio. “I think it’s a big mistake, obviously there is a direct connection between agriculture and rural affairs...that’s why it is one ministry,” says Hardeman.
In the heat of the election campaign Wynne pledged on Dec. 6 2012 that she “will serve as the Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs for at least one year,” published in a release on her campaign website.
Hardeman says “the premier didn’t promise that she was going to split the ministry, what she did promise was that she would be Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.” Hardeman went on to say that “she [Kathleen Wynne] only did half of what she said that she was going to do.”
The Dec. 6 pledge also went on to say that she would appoint herself to the role for at least one year in order to demonstrate her personal commitment to rural Ontario.
Hardeman says that Wynne didn’t hear the concerns of people from rural Ontario “there is no definitive line between agriculture and rural affairs,” said Hardeman.
As opposition critic, Hardeman plans on putting on the pressure to ensure that rural issues like the horse racing industry, the process of implementing windmills on farms - along with paying attention to the importance of providing rural services in communities such as hospitals and schools will be heard in the legislature.