This appointment marks the second time Hardeman has handled Ontario’s farming portfolio
By Diego Flammini
Oxford County MPP Ernie Hardeman is Ontario’s new Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Hardeman, along with the other 20 ministers who will make up Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet, took the oath of office today during the swearing-in ceremony.
This current tenure as provincial ag minister marks the second time Hardeman has looked after the province’s agricultural portfolio.
In 1999, Premier Mike Harris appointed Hardeman as the Minister of Agriculture and Food. He held that position until 2001.
Hardeman served as Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing under the Ernie Eves government in 2003, and as the agriculture critic from Sept. 2013 to May 2014 under Tim Hudak’s leadership.
Three of Hardeman’s private member’s bills have become Ontario law.
In 2005, the Farm Implements Act received royal assent.
The law “assures dealers that if the dealership contract ends, they will not be left with expensive inventory,” OMAFRA’s website says. It also prevents equipment manufacturers from “having to make expensive settlements in machinery disputes.”
In 2008, his Signage to Promote Ontario Produced Agricultural Products Act received royal assent and became law.
The Act allows for signs promoting Ontario-grown products to be situated within 400 metres of highways without permission from the ag minister.
And in 2013, Hardeman’s Hawkins-Gignac Act received royal assent.
The bill mandates that the week beginning Nov. 1 each year is proclaimed as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and requires homes to have working carbon monoxide detectors.
The bill is also named after Ontario Provincial Police Constable Laurie Hawkins (née Gignac) and her family, who lost their lives because of carbon monoxide poisoning in Nov. 2008.
Hardeman’s involvement in Ontario’s ag industry predates his time at Queen’s Park, as he owned and operated Hardeman Feed Limited in Salford, Ont. from 1966 to 1995.
Agriculture also appears to run in the family.
John Vanthof, Hardeman’s nephew, is the agriculture critic for the NDP.
Some Canadian ag organizations welcomed the incoming government on social media.
“Ontario Holsteins would like to welcome our new provincial cabinet. A specific welcome to our new Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Oxford County MPP Ernie Hardeman!” the organization said on Twitter.
The Canadian Seed Trade Association welcomed the new cabinet, “particularly Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,” the organization said on Twitter. “We look forward to working with you to ensure the continued success of Ontario's seed sector.”
Other members of Premier Ford’s cabinet include Lisa Thompson as Minister of Education, Victor Fedeli as Minister of Finance and Rod Phillips as Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.