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Ont. ag industry reacts to new gov’t

Ont. ag industry reacts to new gov’t

Out of a contentious and polarizing election, a message of unity emerges

By Jackie Clark

While some people may interpret a minority government as a sign of division in Canada, members of Ontario’s ag community insist it provides an opportunity for unity.

“There’s a lot of divide in the country right now. Farmers are feeling left out by the Liberal government, especially in the west,” Keith Currie, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture president, told Farms.com.

“When Canadians cast their ballots (on Monday) and chose a minority government, they sent a signal to politicians about the need for collaboration,” he said in a Tuesday statement.

The opposition doesn’t need to attack the governing party, but rather “bring our issues forward and present them in a way they’ll be dealt with,” Currie said to Farms.com. Party leaders “have done enough damage dividing the country. Let’s pull it back together and move forward.”

Commodity groups in the province are echoing the need for collaboration to find solutions to challenges in the ag industry.

For example, Joe Hill, president of the Beef Farmers of Ontario, told Farms.com about the pressing issues of new transport regulations and lack of processing capacity.

“We always try to maintain open conversation with government, working with all parties all the time,” Hill said. “They need to sit down with farm groups, talk about solutions and act on them in a timely manner. We need the government working at the speed of industry.”

The Grain Farmers of Ontario also wants federal politicians to solve problems.

“Grain farmers look to the new government to find their common ground to ensure that trade barriers are removed, new markets are opened, farm business protection programs are enacted, and environmental policy is realistic and meaningful,” said Markus Haerle, chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, in the Tuesday statement.

Farmers and farm groups are used to working together to send collaborative messages to government, and this week is no exception. 

 “Going forward, we can show the economic benefit of propping up the agriculture industry,” Keith Currie said. “That’s a positive for all Canadians.”

Oleksii Liskonih\iStock / Getty Images Plus photo

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