Ontario NDP Ag Critic Comments on Wynne’s Decision to Split OMAFRA
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s decision to spin off the Rural Affairs portion from the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) portfolio continues to be a source of some confusion. Many are still trying to figure out what this move truly signifies.
Farms.com contacted both opposition parties’ agriculture critics to provide reaction and comment to Wynne’s decision to take on minister of agriculture in addition to being premier, while handing off the rural affairs portion to Jeff Leal MPP from Peterborough.
In an emailed statement John Vanthof MPP for Timiskaming—Cochrane who is also serving as the agriculture critic for the NDP provides comment.
“There have already been two surprise decisions from the new Premier’s office regarding OMAFRA. The first is that Premier Wynne was going to take the OMAFRA portfolio herself. This seemed to stem from a promise that she made during the leadership campaign. The jury is still out on that decision. The majority believes that the premier will have a full plate and the OMAFRA portfolio might just fall off the side, but others are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, she is the premier after all and should be able to move agriculture issues ahead if she so chooses.
The splitting of the Ministry raises even more concerns. There is a reason why the Ministry contained agriculture and rural affairs. The two are so intertwined that it is hard to keep them separate, much more so than other ministries. Will the Minister of Rural Affairs actually be the behind the scenes Ag Minister, and if so why not let him be the Ag Minister. The question in the agriculture community remains is this a real attempt to reengage the farm community or just farming musical chairs. Will the real Minister please stand up?” said Vanthof.
In addition to Vanthof serving as an MPP, he and his wife Rita own and operate a dairy and crop farm just outside of Earlton, Ontario which has been in the family since 1984. Vanthof is also an active member of his community and has served as an elected member of the Temiskaming Dairy Producer Committee for more than 20 years and was a member of the Board of Directors for the 2009 International Plowing Match.
The interview with Ontario PC agriculture critic can be read through the following link:
Ontario PC Agriculture Critic Says Splitting up OMAFRA was a “Big Mistake”