The party would protect farmland and promote sustainable farming techniques
By Diego Flammini
Leading up to the June 2 provincial election, Farms.com has provided platform coverage of Ontario’s four main political parties to give farmers and rural Ontarians a sense of what each party is promising should they form the next government.
The platforms for the Progressive Conservatives, NDP and Green and Liberal parties can be found at their respective links.
The document Farms.com reviewed on the Liberal Party’s website had very few mentions of agriculture and rural Ontario.
Farms.com contacted representatives from the Liberal Party for clarification about where agriculture and rural Ontario fits into the party’s platform.
Andrea Ernesaks, press secretary for the Ontario Liberal Party, provided a link to a different document and the following response:
“An Ontario Liberal government will support a united province by ensuring that rural Ontarians have access to the same quality of health care, education and opportunity as the rest of the province. To achieve this goal, we will invest in additional health services and cover tuition costs for medical and nursing students working in a rural or remote community, to ensure everyone has access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner. We will modernize the way Ontario funds schools with an eye towards keeping rural schools open. We will make it easier for rural Ontarians to connect with each other by making Community Transportation Grants permanent and bringing high-speed internet access to every Ontario household and business by 2025.
“We know that our farms are essential to our economy and our food security, and we will take several steps to help them maintain sustainable, profitable operations. We will work to help our farmers get ahead and are willing to take on mega-companies who have used their power to drive unfair negotiations with suppliers through a grocery code of conduct. We will exert control over our immigration system, just as Quebec has, with an eye to filling skills gaps in rural and northern Ontario.
“We’ll also make Ontario’s food supply chain more resilient by preserving farmland and promoting sustainable farming techniques, as well as investing in additional regional processing capacity. We’ll develop a made-for-rural climate action plan that recognizes the unique challenges of reducing greenhouse gases in remote settings and the agriculture sector. We’ll push back against Doug Ford’s anti-conservation agenda by bringing more lands under the Greenbelt’s protection in close collaboration with local and Indigenous communities and farmers. We will also work with Ontario farmers to achieve our waste reduction and sustainability goals including requiring Green Bin programs to work with farmers and fuel producers to harness organic waste for renewable natural gas and reduce methane emissions.
“In addition, we will kill Highway 413, the Ford Conservatives’ project that would pave over wetlands and farmland to shave an average commuter 30 seconds. We’ll also designate 30% of our land as protected areas by 2030 – up from 10%. We’ll strengthen the powers of Ontario’s Conservation Authorities to prevent flooding and protect farmland, repealing harmful legislative changes from the Ford Conservatives. We’ll promote sustainable farming techniques and develop a made-for-rural climate action plan.
“Ontarians have a clear choice between the Ford Conservatives’ reckless anti-conservation agenda and a Liberal government that will protect our farmlands and make smart investments so that our agriculture sector can continue to be a strength and rural Ontarians have access to world-class health care, education and transportation services.”