Huron-Bruce MPP promoted to ag minister

© AgMedia Inc.

'She should know how to handle herself,' says Huron County Federation of Agriculture president of veteran politician Carol Mitchell

photo: Carol Mitchell


If I were Carol I would use my new job to offer outgoing NFU Coordinator Grant Robertson some sort of position before he takes it in his head to run provincially in 2011. He was the most effective opposition voice over the last three years even though he wasn't in the Legislature. He might not be able to win our riding, but he sure could cause Carol to lose. He has often had good things to say about Carol in private and public, so I don't think it would be a bad appointment and would sure put Carol's stamp on the Ministry and show she is willing to do things differently.

From what I hear he is a very long time friend of NDP leader Andrea Horwath and helped secure her leadership and might feel he owes it to her to run, and has already been asked to write the platform, but won't committ because he is focused on being as nonpartisan as possible in his role with the NFU, however I would get to that quick if I were Carol.

If I were minister for a day, I would close borders to produce that is produced with chemicals that are banned in Canada to make it fair to producers here.

I would ban all food from China.

If I was minister for a day , I would implement a farmincome safetynet based on cost of production, thereby doing away with programs that respond only to disasters. This would stabilize the farmindustry as a whole and make it viable for young farmers to start up.
The second thing I would do is, I would sit down with my collega the Minister of Energy and together we would make sure that the farmindustry would be able to benefit from renewable energy projects such as wind, solar and bio energy.
The OPA would be required to implement a connectioncost that would be the same across the province for all farmrelated projects.
The restrictions on classes 1, 2 and 3 for solar would be removed.
Instead it would be mandatory to make it possible to graze animals under the panels.
If I had some time left in this 1 day, I would have a talk with Eugene Whelan to see what else could be done.

Lets see how far this goes. I challenge all Better Farming Readers to Add to this list after giving a lot of thought to this "wish list". Please start you wish with "If I was Minister for a day I would..."

1) If i was minister for a day I would put in place legislation requiring all Produce and Meat raised outside of ONtario to be clearly Labelled with its Place of Origin, be it Quebec, Alberta, or the USA

2) If I was Minister for a day I would

i would make it possible for all farm families to get benefits for a low price.

Allow each farm family a retirement lot from their land.

I'd cry about how selfish each sector of agriculture is towards every other sector. I'd cry about how selfish supply managed farmers are when it comes to the absolute advantage they enjoy over both consumers, and other farmers. I'd cry about how selfishly grains farmers claim ethanol is of no harm to livestock farmers.

I'd cry because the Minister of Agriculture is expected to a Minister of Farming, and because he/she has to listen to a babble of competing, and conflicting, points of view just coming from farmers, plus the points of view coming from the food processing and consumer sides of the issue.

I'd cry because the narrow, and completely-selfish, interests of 13,000 Canadian dairy farmers prompted my predecessor to drop everything and travel to Europe to defend supply management which isn't even a Provincial matter. What's worse, I'm going to cry because I know I'm going to be expected to pander to this group of farmer-bandits as well, even though I know they're high-jacking the interests of other farmers who want me/need me to get us back into the game of increasing exports, not just preventing imports.

I'm going to cry because I know that Canadian agriculture is horribly debt-laden in comparison to US farmers, and that Canadian farmers are five, or six, times vulnerable to increases in interest rates than US farmers.

If I was minister for a day , I would implement a farm income safety net based on cost of production (agree with previous poster) for all farmers.

I would also teach others not lucky enough to live on a farm how much of a commitment of work and time it takes to grow their food and how much care Canadian farmers take to produce high quality food for them.

I would walk thru One Stone Road, stop at EVERY desk from top to basement and ask the person sitting at it what they did in the last 3 mos to improve the lot of Ontario farmers. If they do not have a clear, concise answer I would put them on probation for 3 mos and return with the same question. If there still is not a clear, concise answer I would have security escort them to the door. After Stone Road I would start at all the additional crown corps that fall under OMAF's jurisdiction.

Agriculture is a cabinet position that has behaved more like a commenting agency of late. With a large part of Ont economy dependent on the performance of the agriculture production sectors successful performance I would not allow my watch to be the continued failure of the largest or second largest industry in Ont..

The documented downward spiral of agriculture in this province has been failed by all levels of government and bureaucracy. Yes I would walk through Stone Road and call for the audits of OFPMC and OMAFRA and the most recent performance records of staff, before Ticket Master gets the rights to that sold out performance! I would want to be the minister that saved food production in Ont. not the minister that contributed to the further demise of a leading industry in a now have not province.

I would address the injustice to beginning farmers that were missed by the OCHHP program. These young farm families have been left out of several support payments both federal and provincial (i.e. Cost of Production, Agri-Invest Kickstart and OCHHP). Through the pig industry crisis these young beginning farmers have not received the assistance they deserved that the established farmers did receive, this has left them with no options and extremely dissadvantaged in this time of crisis. The beginning farmer is not asking for special treatment but for EQUAL support and opportunities. If I were ag minister for a day I would correct this injustice and in future make sure the beginning young farmers are included and given equal opportunity. Let's not bankrupt our young farm families anymore, because if they are forced out of agriculturet through bankruptcy they will never be able to return to agriculture again!!

Post new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
We welcome thoughtful comments and ideas. Comments must be on topic. Cheap shots, unsubstantiated allegations, anonymous attacks or negativity directed against people and organizations will not be published. Comments are modified or deleted at the discretion of the editors. If you wish to be identified by name, which will give your opinion far more weight and provide a far greater chance of being published, leave a telephone number so that identity can be confirmed. The number will not be published.