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Making rural Ontario an election priority

Making rural Ontario an election priority

Organizations express the importance of economic growth to political candidates

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Ontario producers are working to make their voices heard for the upcoming provincial election.

Farm organizations, including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO), are advocating on behalf of their members. The groups want to ensure the candidates understand the issues that the agri-food industry and rural communities face.

This election season, economic development is a common theme.

For example, OFA’s Producing Prosperity campaign focuses on rural Ontario’s “potential to drive economic growth, affordable housing opportunities, job creation, environmental sustainability and local food security,” Keith Currie, president of the organization, said in Wednesday’s release.

The OFA plans discuss with candidates how long-term investments in agriculture can lead to economic growth for the whole province, the release said.

The CFFO has also reached out to provincial candidates “to remind them of the vital role that the agri-food sector plays in Ontario’s economic achievement,” a Friday release stated.

Throughout these discussions, the organization will inform the parties about key concerns, such as labour policies and energy costs.

In addition, the Council of Canadians, a not-for-profit organization that advocates for the country’s citizens, recently surveyed the public to determine their election priorities. (For many years, the Council has worked with industry associations in Canada and abroad, Mark Calzavara, Ontario-Quebec regional organizer for the Council of Canadians, told Farms.com yesterday.)

Council of Canadians photo

From April 21 to May 9, the organization asked rural and urban participants to select trade issues that will inform how they vote in the election. In total, 71.5 per cent of respondents indicated that they want the government to “support Ontario farmers by protecting supply management in international trade agreements.”

The province should also protect Ontario’s “buy local” rules in these trade agreements, 66.82 per cent of survey participants stated.

After decades examining trade deals, the Council and its supporters understand the impacts that government policies can have, Calzavara said. 

“Ontario should staunchly defend our farms, our policies that protect food production and the rights of sub-national governments to procure goods and services locally if they so chose,” he said.

 

UPDATED MAY 11, 2018

 

Ron Thomas/ Getty Images / E+ photo