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Ont. agriculture minister asks Halton farmers to point out ‘red tape’

Ernie Hardeman told farmers in Milton he needs to know where the red tape is in order to get rid of it
 
Ontario’s minister of agriculture is asking Halton Region’s farmers to help him identify bureaucratic red tape. Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman touted the provincial government’s crusade to make Ontario “open for business” at the annual general meeting of the Halton Region Federation of Agriculture on Thursday, Oct. 25 at Country Heritage Park in Milton. He said the only way legislators can tell which regulations are slowing people down is if someone tells them.
 
“Red tape is the No. 1 issue that’s causing our companies and our farmers to say they’re having trouble to compete in the world,” said Hardeman, who was first elected to the legislature in 1995 and was minister of agriculture already once, from 1999 to 2001. “We want to know what those regulations are so we can help you and get rid of them.”
 
This week, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government introduced the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, which will halt the $1 per hour minimum wage increase that was to kick in Jan. 1, eliminate two paid sick days and scrap rules that required companies to pay the same hourly wage to temporary or part-time workers as they do to full-time workers. The bill will also make changes to the apprenticeship system and eliminate the Ontario College of Trades.
 
Hardeman said he’s been amazed by the examples of pointless bureaucracy that he’s heard about from some business owners.
 
“Can you imagine that if you’re in business in Ontario and you want to retire, that you have to apply to give up the licence you bought to run the business?” he said incredulously, urging the crowd to alert the government "every time you’re doing something and you believe there’s no value in what you’re doing.”
 
Hardeman opened his speech with a joke about people who say food prices are too high.
 
“We should go up to the farmers and say, ‘Could I just pay a little bit more for that? I don’t know how you can make it so good and sell it so cheap,’” he said, to laughs from the crowd. “We should be saying ‘thank you’ to the farmers for doing a good job.”
 
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