John Vanthof made the comments during Question Period
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
The Ontario government’s decision to dissolve the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers board and appoint Elmer Buchanan as its trustee is facing scrutiny in Queen’s Park.
During Question Period on March 7, Ontario NDP agriculture critic John Vanthof said the decision to appoint a single trustee, instead of having an elected board, jeopardizes Ontario’s producers.
“On Friday, March 3, the powers of the board were stripped,” he said during his address to Premier Kathleen Wynne. “The Minister (of Agriculture) removed the board entirely. How is that action in the best long-term interests of a sector that’s vital to the Ontario agricultural economy?
“Where do farmers fit in this equation? Because they certainly weren’t part of the Minister’s decision to strip the powers of their board.”
The Premier called upon Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, to answer the question.
“It was clear to me that an impasse had been reached (between growers and processors),” Minister Leal said. He referenced a Feb. 22 letter from OPVG stating an impasse had been reached and action was needed.
“We had to make a decision so that we would not lose the 2017 crop. This would impact farmers, impact jobs and we wanted to sustain regulatory marketing in the province of Ontario.
“That’s the decision we made for farmers in Ontario.”