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Ontario Political Parties Respond to Ag Issues (Jun 06, 2014)

Ontario Political Parties Respond to Ag Issues

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Editor’s note: Farms.com would like to thank all four political parties for participating and for taking the time to share their thoughtful responses with the Ontario agriculture community.

Ontario’s 41st provincial general election is just around the corner, June 12th, and farmers and those involved in the agri-food sector are interested to hear from political parties about issues that matter to their industry.

After receiving a number of questions from farmers, Farms.com identified key “ag-issues” and asked the four main political parties – Liberal, PC, NDP and Green – what their positions are on the topics.

The responses from the various political parties are outlined below. If you would prefer to listen to a summary of the issues, you can view our (unedited) video on this page. 


Party: Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP)
Note: Answers were prepared by John Vanthof, NDP candidate for Timiskaming-Cochrane (NDP Ag Critic)

What is your party’s position on the following issues?

Risk Management Program (RMP)

One of the issues that many farmers are concerned about is the cap on the RMP program.  Ontario Agriculture Sustainability Coalition (OASC) worked very hard to develop the program, with its main objective to provide a predictable bankable support program to farmers when the markets did not provide the cost of production of the product.  This stability is important for the entire agri-food sector.  The arbitrary cap forces payments to be prorated after the crop is sold so the program is no longer bankable or predictable for individual farmers.  OASC is recommending that the cap be raised incrementally to its formal levels.  The NDP believes that this could be a reasonable option and we will commit to consulting with the stakeholders to determine the best way forward.

Agriculture education/food literacy

The NDP is in favor of adding food literacy to the educational curriculum.  Ontario Agri Food Education Inc. has done an admirable job with limited resources but the government has to help reconnect students with the origin of their food.

Energy policy (i.e. wind and solar)

Ontarians are paying too much for electricity.  This has driven jobs out of the province and in rural Ontario, is driving people out of their homes.  We will remove the provincial portion of the HST from Hydro as a first step.  This will save a residential customer about $120 annually.  The second step will be to merge the four public companies that now control the retail, distribution and some of the generation of electricity.  The merge of Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, the Ontario Power Authority, and the IESO will result in savings in upper level management etc.  These savings will be passed on to customers.  The third step will be to open up private power contracts to the scrutiny of the Auditor General.  We must ensure that Ontarians are paying a fair price for the power that they are paying for electricity from private power companies and that it is competitive with the power that is generated currently by Ontario Power Generation.  The fifth step is to stop selling surplus power through private energy brokers.  Ontario currently sells our power at a discount to other jurisdictions.  This practice must be stopped.

An NDP government would also work with municipalities on renewable projects in a manner consistent with long-term renewable targets. The Liberals have made a mess of the process of pursuing wind power by imposing large wind projects on communities without adequate consultation and without ensuring that local communities benefit.

We would give priority to small, community-based energy projects developed by and for local communities – not big projects by profit-seeking corporations.

The Ontario Power Generation would oversee the development of larger renewable energy development projects like wind and solar projects, ensuring greater transparency and accountability and more meaningful public input into proposed projects.


Supply managed commodities (i.e. dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey)

The supply management system is a regulation system unique to Canada.  It provides farmers with a fair price for their products, and consumers with a top quality Canadian supply of dairy and poultry products.  While the system is federal, there is a significant provincial involvement.  The NDP fully supports SM and will work with stakeholders to defend it.

 Neonicotinoid pesticides

The loss of pollinators and the impact of agricultural pesticides on their health is a serious issue across the world and Ontario is no exception.  The NDP has held meetings with many shareholders on the issue and while there are wide differences of opinion regarding what should be done, there is a universal will to move forward.  We are encouraged by the efforts of the agricultural community to limit acute poisoning of pollinators.  We are also encouraged by research being carried out this summer comparing the yield differences between treated and untreated seed.  The long term goal should be to use pesticides only when necessary and not as a blanket or insurance treatment.  The NDP is strongly in favor of science based decision making however waiting for science should not be a reason to do anything.

Farmland property tax levels

The province currently provides a 75% tax rebate for agricultural land, a practice supported by the NDP.  Agricultural land values have risen dramatically over the last decade.  Property taxes will rise as a result making the rebate even more important.

Farmland protection

Farmland preservation continues to be a very serious issue.  As the saying goes “buy land, they are not making any more of it”, we are losing it at an alarming rate.  The NDP believes that the planning act should be changed so that the protection of agricultural land becomes a priority.  Designating one area like the Green Belt Act slows development in one area, but agricultural land just beyond the border is often lost to development in a leap frog or doughnut effect.  The Liberal government has proposed a trust to protect agricultural land but this promise rings hollow as we see solar farms built on Class 1, 2, and 3 farmland.  A stronger agricultural land preservation policy needs to be developed in collaboration with all stakeholders.  

Reuniting OMAF and RA ministries

The NDP has never supported the split of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs.  It has not only added extra costs but has failed to add any value for the people of rural Ontario.

Reducing red tape

First of all, Ontarians are tired of their hard earned tax money being wasted. We will create a Minister of Savings and Accountability whose sole purpose will be to eliminate waste of government funds.  Farmers tell us about endless red tape dealing with multiple Ministries on the same issue.  That costs the government time and money as well and this Minister will work to eliminate it.  The NDP will implement a tracking mechanism that will ensure that all applications and enquiries are dealt with in a timely manner.  These systems are used in the private sector and there is no reason why they could not work in the public sector.

Regulatory reform on water use

During my time as agricultural critic, I have had the opportunity to talk to many greenhouse operators and it has become obvious that there is a need for reform to the regulations regarding water use.  We will work with the industry to ensure that an adequate solution is reached.

OMAF/RA public service (will there be cuts?)

The NDP will create a Minister of Savings and Accountability.  Their role will be to find waste and duplication within government ministries without impacting vital services.  We will concentrate on eliminating duplication and needless regulation.

Party: Ontario Liberal Party
Note: Answers were prepared by the Ontario Liberal Party’s media team

Risk Management Program (RMP)

Ontario Liberals will maintain our strong partnership with producers. Ontario Liberals worked with producers to implement the Risk Management Program and we continued to work with them to implement the redesigned program which includes a number of innovative features, including an industry-managed premium fund which offers access to support beyond the capped amount in years of need and which puts more of the responsibility for decision-making in the hands of farm groups. Ontario is one of the only provinces in Canada to have a permanent provincial program in addition to nationally available Business Risk Management (BRM) support.
 
Over the past year, our support for Ontario’s agri-food sector has been unprecedented, lending stability and opening opportunities for the industry.  We have invested more than $84 million in Business Risk Management (BRM) support and another $75 million in initiatives that support innovation and market development through Growing Forward 2.

We’re proud of these investments, and the partnerships we’ve built with producers.  Tim Hudak’s promise to make billions in cuts would put that partnership at risk and seriously hinder the province’s ability to support the agri-food sector and our producers.


Agriculture education/food literacy

Ontario Liberals have improved the curriculum to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand food choices.   In Full-day Kindergarten, students learn about food as they experience the day.  In the elementary, students learn to develop a sense of personal responsibility for taking care of themselves and making healthy food decisions.  They also learn to examine their own food choices and eating patterns and then make decisions and set appropriate goals.  At the secondary level, courses within the Social Sciences and Humanities, Health and Physical Education, Technological Education and Science curricula speak to food literacy.

Additional opportunities that support developing food literacy include the Agriculture, Hospitality and Tourism, and Food-Processing Specialist High Skills Majors.  Specialist High Skills Majors let students focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

The Agriculture Specialist High Skills Major program is offered in partnership with local industry so our children can learn skills from experts in the field. It enables students to gain essential skills and knowledge of the agriculture sector.  For example, students receive training in large animal handling, nutrient management, grain grading and livestock handling. Students also gain credits in biology, chemistry, agribusiness and math. Across the province 495 students are enrolled in this great program.  

Ontario Liberals have also introduced a food processing program at Conestoga College in Cambridge. And we continue to support agricultural education at the Ontario Agriculture College in partnership with the University of Guelph.


Energy policy (i.e. wind and solar)

The Ontario Liberal Party is committed to investing in renewable energy, and doing so in a way that respects communities and gives them a stronger voice. Since Kathleen Wynne came into office, she has been working hard to improve the siting of energy infrastructure in Ontario.
 
Last summer we engaged with municipalities, First Nations leaders, community associations and others to get their feedback. As a result, we have increased local control over renewable siting and brought stability and predictability to procurement.
                                         
For large wind projects, the Ontario Power Authority is creating a new bidding process where projects that have the support of local communities will be given priority.
 
We changed the Small FIT program rules to give priority to projects partnered with or led by municipalities. We also worked with municipalities to implement a property tax-rate increase for wind turbine towers, so revenues go back into the community.


Supply managed commodities (i.e. dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey)

Our government is firmly on the side of Ontario’s farmers.

We support the supply management system, which has a proven track record of protecting Ontario producers, processors and consumers from extreme market fluctuations experienced in other countries around the world.

At the same time, it supports local foods, artisan and niche market innovation and growth within the industry.

Ontario is working closely with the federal government to ensure its interests are well represented as trade talks are conducted.  This includes our ongoing commitment to maintaining supply management.  


Neonicotinoid pesticides

Ontario Liberals are very concerned about the indiscriminate use of neonicotinoid-treated seed and the impact on pollinators in Ontario. We will work in partnership with the agricultural sector to establish a system to target the use of neonicotinoids to where they are actually shown to be required.

However, we continue to call on the federal government, the regulator of pesticides in Canada, to provide evidence-based direction on a national approach to neonic use.  In the meantime, we have continued to work together with beekeepers and with farmers to find solutions to this complex issue that will support a thriving, healthy bee population that will in turn support a strong, successful agri-food sector.

We will continue to support beekeepers.  For example, we are helping beekeepers rebuild their colonies and maintain the essential role honeybees play in the pollination of agricultural crops.  Due to harsh winter conditions this year and other pollinator health issues, the province’s bee colonies are expected to experience higher than normal mortality rates.  To help offset these losses, Ontario is providing one-time financial assistance of $105 per hive to beekeepers who have 10 hives or more and lose over 40 per cent of their colonies.


Farmland property tax levels

We respect municipalities’ authority to determine property taxes, and encourage them to have fair tax rates for residential, commercial and industrial properties. In order to relieve costs from municipalities and help take pressure off the property tax base, we remain committed to uploading costs as promised. Due to this, municipalities will see over $1.5 billion in savings in 2014, the equivalent of nearly 10% of property tax revenue in the province. These very savings will continue to grow under the Ontario Liberal commitment to a full implementation of uploads by the year 2015.

Tim Hudak will follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Mike Harris, downloading millions in costs to municipalities and reversing the progress we’ve made.  This reckless approach will put significant pressure on municipal property taxes as municipalities struggle to meet shortfalls in their budgets


Farmland protection

An increasing amount of agricultural land is being used up by urban expansion and aggregate extraction. At the same time, a large supply of farmland close to major urban centres is an essential source of food and supports Ontario’s strong agri-food sector.

To help land owners protect prime agricultural land close to major urban centres, a Liberal government will create a Farms Forever program. This program will help support the local sourcing of food and strengthen Ontario’s thriving agri-food sector.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals will make it easier for landowners to protect their land from development if it is prime agricultural land. At the request of a landowner, an “easement” can be granted to prevent non-agricultural development from taking place on the land even if the land is sold to another party. We will support landowners and land trusts to encourage more preservation of farmland using easements.

A Liberal government recognizes that young farmers need support and we will use Farms Forever and other policies to ensure that farming is an occupation that can be enjoyed by generations to come.


Reuniting OMAF and RA ministries

From farm to fork, Ontario’s agri-food industry is a shining star of our economy – generating $34 billion annually in GDP and supporting more than 740,000 jobs.  The Premier took on the additional role as Minister of Agriculture and Food because she wanted to bring greater profile to one of Ontario’s leading contributors to GDP – and she has.
 
Our government’s support for Ontario’s agri-food sector is unprecedented, lending stability and opening opportunities for the industry.  Over the past year we have invested more than $84 million in Business Risk Management support and another $75 million in initiatives that support innovation and market development through GF2. Our government continues to provide $100 million annually in support to Ontario’s Risk Management Program – a risk management tool designed by farmers for farmers.

In order to help grow the agri-food sector, the Ontario Liberal Plan includes strategic investments in food processing.  And that is why the Ontario Liberal Plan would commit $40 million annually to a food processing stream under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund to promote investments, innovation and sector growth.

While having two Ministers responsible for these files has underlined the importance of these issues and has elevated them at the Cabinet table, the ministries have continued to be integrated and focused on delivering results for the agri-food sector and rural Ontarians.


Reducing red tape

We have continued to work to create faster, smarter and more streamlined government-to-business services, so farmers can spend more time on the things that matter. Our Open for Business roundtable is one of the ways that we work with industry to help the agri-food sector to be more innovative, more competitive and more productive. We have eliminated regulations and streamlined others, while ensuring that the public is protected. When we work to eliminate unnecessary regulations and processes, we focus specifically on the kind of red tape that costs businesses valuable time and money.  Our plan to eliminate unnecessary burdens will save business $100 million over the next three years, while protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians.  Tim Hudak’s risky red tape quota will make cuts in an arbitrary way, not in a way that focuses on saving business time and money.  

Regulatory reform on water use

Ontario Liberals support stakeholders' call for a regulatory review of water uses to further agricultural productivity in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.

Premier Wynne as Minister of Agriculture and Food championed the Open-for-Business Forum on Agriculture as a model for targeting policy discussions between government and industry from an agri-food perspective. This Forum is an ideal venue for engaging on government-wide water stewardship policies in an agricultural context and considering regulatory reform options that would further agricultural productivity. We agree with stakeholders that it’s essential to focus attention now on optimizing water uses in agricultural production, and on developing a knowledge base around best practices in Ontario and around the world. Legislative initiatives going forward that relate to water use and water conservation policies should be informed by the input and perspectives from the agri-food industry.


Further, we are committed to investing $30 million over the next 10 years to keep the Walkerton Clean Water Centre on the cutting edge of clean water training and research. The Ontario Liberal plan also commits to tackling the algae problems in the Great Lakes by working with municipalities to improve sewage and stormwater management and with the agricultural sector to develop financial incentives to reduce nutrient runoff.

OMAF/RA public service (will there be cuts?)

Tim Hudak’s reckless plan to fire 100,000 Ontario workers will have a devastating impact on our economy, plunging our province back toward recession. He simply cannot fire so many people and avoid causing serious damage to the services that farmers depend on. His plan for billions in cuts will jeopardize Ontario’s ability to ensure the continued success of our agri-food sector. He would cancel our $40 million commitment each year for food and food processing, putting thousands and thousands of jobs at risk.  Ontario’s agri-food sector simply cannot afford Tim Hudak’s reckless plan for cuts.  

Party: Green Party of Ontario
Note: Answers were prepared by the Green Party of Ontario’s media team

Risk Management Program (RMP)

The Green Party of Ontario supports additional funding for the RMP by increasing it by $25 million per year from $100 million to $175 million. The GPO will work towards expanding it to include all farm sectors.

Agriculture education/food literacy

The Green Party of Ontario believes that everyone should be educated about food: farmers should have the opportunity to know how to grow the best food and how to market their products; the general public should learn about food systems, how food choices and health are co-related, and how to make the best choices for themselves. The GPO will work towards making agricultural education accessible for farmers and food literacy a reality for all Ontarians.

In order to promote the education of Ontario’s farmers, the GPO will introduce refundable tax credits that support peer-based internship and training programs to assist new farmers. We support having OMAFRA staff partner with non-profit organizations such as FarmStart, CRAFT and others developing training programs for new farmers. Further, we will provide refundable tax credits to farmers transitioning to production systems that earn higher margins for farmers such as organic and Local Food Plus certification.

The Green Party of Ontario will support and work with new farmers in developing access to grants and affordable loans to facilitate access to capital for new farmers. We will support OMAFRA programs to assist new farmers with business planning and partner with organizations such as FarmStart and CRAFT that support new farmers.

We also want Ontario’s farmers to be able to get word to the public about their high-quality local products. The Green Party’s plan starts by working with Ontario’s farmers, processors, and other agricultural workers to develop, access and promote local markets. The Green Party will support farmers with a tax credit package to seek out new markets, alternative revenue streams and higher value markets such as organic production.


Our plan will help foster local marketing and distribution systems by investing in rural infrastructure, research and innovation, bio-based manufacturing products, distribution hubs, farmer co-ops, and organic and specialty crops to support farm incomes.

We will support innovative programs to assist farmers in developing new business models and sources of revenue. We will also support local branding and education projects that assist farmers in obtaining higher returns for their products.


The GPO also believes that all Ontarians should be educated about food systems and good food choices. We should start this education early in life since the foundation for our life-long eating patterns is set when we are young. We need to give our children tools to sustain healthy eating patterns. Healthy eating can improve memory and concentration and support healthy growth and development. Additionally, good nutrition confronts head-on today’s major challenges caused by childhood obesity and diabetes.

Therefore, the GPO will increase food literacy for families and children by adding food preparation and nutrition education courses to after-school and community programming. We will also reintroduce food preparation courses to the high school curriculum.

We would also build on the Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act to make healthy eating the easy choice for all students.


The Green Party is committed to building a comprehensive, healthy school food program that builds on the knowledge of local communities. We will set guidelines, including purchasing targets for local food, and support local organizations and parents to establish the program that works best in their community and for their children.

We will also increase enforcement of the accurate use of the Foodland Ontario label in retail stores so that consumers can be confident when they choose local. Buying local, sustainable food for a healthy school food program will not only promote access to affordable and healthy food, it also supports Ontario farmers.

We will also advocate for healthy food programs that target priority populations and neighbourhoods, with a particular focus on First Nations and children, and will build partnerships with local food retailers to sell subsidized good food boxes.


Energy policy (i.e. wind and solar)
    
The cheapest and greenest solution to our energy challenge is to invest in energy efficiency and conservation. The Green Party of Ontario supports policies to help you invest in your home, farm operation and business to improve the energy efficiency of your buildings and operations. Our top energy priority is to help you save money by saving energy.

The GPO also advocates for locally owned community power generation projects. We believe that empowering communities to make their own decisions is the only way to keep financial benefits flowing to local community.

We will institute a Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program.  Governments around the world are adopting FIT programs as a sensible way to support the transition to sustainable energy systems. The GPO advocates for a 20% minimum local equity component in order to ensure that local communities are having a say in projects that are taking place around them. Alternatively, commercial projects could meet local ownership requirements by providing 15% of gross project revenues to the host municipality or a registered charity in the host community.

FITs are a way to ensure that community projects are given a chance in the market. We will also ensure that community and locally owned green energy projects should have priority access to Ontario’s grid.  Projects that have widely engaged local citizens in ownership should have the right of first refusal for available grid access, especially on crown land.  Preferred access to the grid should be allocated on a sliding scale based on the extent of local participation. That is projects with 100% local ownership access the grid first and those with 20% local ownership go last.

Supply managed commodities (i.e. dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey)

The Green Party supports the supply management system as way to ensure farmers receive adequate returns covering the cost of production. We would work with supply management commodity groups on reforms that would make it easier for new farmers to enter into the supply management system. We support efforts to encourage on-farm value added local food processing within the supply management system.

The Green Party’s focus is to ensure that farmers receive an adequate income for their products while maintaining fair access to the system.

Neonicotinoid pesticides

The Green Party is calling on the government to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, beginning in the next growing season, which scientists have blamed for colony collapse, until peer-reviewed scientific research can definitively determine that neonicotinoids do not harm bees. We will continue to advocate for this ban whether elected or not.

The GPO has taken further action on the matter by encouraging the government of Canada to support research on the decline of bee populations. It is essential that we have a thorough understanding of what is causing the decline of bee populations.

We recognize the decline of the insect pollinator population to be an urgent Environmental problem with even more widespread ramifications. Insect pollinators are integral to our global food system and the global and local economies cannot function without them. We firmly believe that the provincial and federal governments should not put our food supply and our local economy at risk by failing to protect insect pollinators.

The GPO would further invest in studies on pollinator-friendly farming techniques and the protection and restoration of pollinator habitats. We continue to believe that is essential that we have a thorough understanding of what is causing the decline of bee populations and insect pollinators.


Farmland property tax levels

The GPO advocates for eliminating tax penalties and reduce zoning restrictions to facilitate local, on farm food enterprises and innovative sources of farm income

Farmland protection

Prime farmland and clean drinking water are essential to our lives and our happiness. We have to commit to protecting these vital resources for future generations. The Green Party of Ontario is committed to preserving farmland and water-source regions by committing to protecting all Class 1 farmland in Ontario.

Reuniting OMAF and RA ministries

The GPO would like to see the two ministries reunited. We are also advocating for a rural secretariat to help farmers navigate the many ministries that regulate the farm industry.

Party: Ontario PC Party
Note: Answers were prepared by the Ontario PC Party’s media team

Risk Management Program (RMP)

  • The Ontario PCs support the Business Risk Management program, as it provides farmers with the stability they need to make long-term investments in their business. We would make it more of an insurance program by putting government premiums into a dedicated fund so if they aren’t used in the good years they are available in the bad years. This will minimize risk and help our farmers.

Agriculture education/food literacy

  • The PCs believe in increasing food literacy and supporting agri-skills training for young Ontarians.
  • This is especially important given that there are now three jobs open for every person who graduates from University of Guelph Agriculture College. We need to encourage the next generation of farmers and make sure they can learn the high-tech and scientific skills that are needed to succeed in farming today.
  • That’s why it was so disappointing when Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals announced they were closing two agricultural colleges this year. When Ontario PC Candidate Ernie Hardeman was the Minister of Agriculture and Food, that closure was recommended to him and we said no.  
  • As well, the Ontario PC Caucus put forward an amendment to the Local Food Act that would have required food education be part of the curriculum in every grade. Unfortunately the other two parties blocked the amendment.

Energy policy (i.e. wind and solar)

  • The Ontario PC Million Jobs Plan will deliver affordable energy while giving rural communities more say over where industrial wind farms are placed.
  • This means winding down the non-competitive Feed-in Tariff Program and subjecting all future wind and solar projects to tests like demand assessment, competitive bidding and local approval.
  • We will honour existing contracts, while immediately halting all new projects still in the approval queue.

Supply managed commodities (i.e. dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey)

  • The Ontario PCs are proud to support our agriculture industry’s supply management system. It's a way to ensure a coordinated, strong industry and that there are a sufficient number of products -- and that they’re high quality. The dairy industry, as an example, has done a very good job of ensuring safety and production.

Neonicotinoid pesticides

  • Pollinators are extremely important to our ecosystem and agriculture industry, which is why the Ontario PCs want to ensure we find the right solution to address bee mortalities. That’s why we wrote to the chair of the Ontario Bee Health Working Group to ask that they look at all the causes of bee mortalities and base their recommendations on scientific data.

Farmland property tax levels

  • We understand that over the last few years as the price of farmland has increased dramatically that has also resulted in dramatic increases in property taxes for our farmers – in spite of the fact that most of the land has very little services.  
  • Some municipalities have recognized this by lowering the property tax rate on farms – which they already have the right to do.oIf property values stay high we need to look at the rates to ensure that it doesn’t cause an unfair burden on farmers. However, this needs to be done as part of a broader discussion on municipal finances.

Farmland protection

  • This is a concern – along with red tape – that has come up often at the roundtables that the PC critic Ernie Hardeman has been holding.
  • The PCs support progress, but we need to remember the importance of farmland and need to make sure it’s taken into consideration in land use planning.

Reuniting OMAF and RA ministries

  • Under our Million Jobs Plan, the Ontario PCs plan to reduce the number of ministries from 27 to 16. This means that OMAF and rural affairs will fall under the same ministry again.

Reducing red tape

  • The PCs will eliminate rules and regulations that don’t benefit consumers, workers or employers, reducing the total by one-third over three years. Government regulation should focus on a few important priorities like the environment, public safety and consumer protection.

Regulatory reform on water use

  • Farmers and agri-businesses continually tell us that the regulatory burden is impeding Ontario’s progress. We want the industry to be able to focus on job creation and productivity – which is why we’ll cut the regulatory burden by one-third.
  • This will go a long way with helping the agriculture industry to grow their businesses.

OMAF/RA public service (will there be cuts?)

  • The foundation of our Million Jobs Plan is a balanced budget, and ending Ontario’s debt spiral. Families understand that it’s wrong to pile debt onto our children and grandchildren. But there’s an even more urgent reason: job creation.
  • There’s only one way to balance the budget, and that’s to spend less. When well over half of every dollar of spending goes to salaries and benefits for government workers, spending less means having fewer government workers. That’s why we have said very directly that a balanced budget means going from 1.2 million government workers today to 1.1 million — the number we had in 2009.
  • Streamlining government will ultimately result in better value and service quality for taxpayers – including those in the agriculture industry who have spent far too much time jumping from one ministry to another or dealing with bureaucratic red tape.


 
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