CORNWALL, ONTARIO – Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell greeted Thursday’s release of the new Ontario PC White Paper Paths to Prosperity – Respect for Rural Ontario. He emphasized the need to place agriculture at the heart of Ontario’s economic recovery: “Ontario can lead Canada in job creation again, but for that to happen, the vital role of agriculture to our whole economy can no longer be ignored by the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals. Agriculture and Food Processing are the second-largest goods-producing sector in the Province and guarantee 700,000 stable, well-paying jobs, many of them in Eastern Ontario. They are an engine that creates jobs in every corner of the province, from our farms in rural communities to our processing plants in big cities”
Respect for Rural Ontario is the twelfth PC White Paper on strengthening Ontario’s economy.
MPP McDonell stated: “Over the past decade, the Liberals have been tone-deaf on rural issues, and this has damaged our agriculture industry. Every day we see farmers and agribusinesses struggle because of high taxes, skyrocketing energy rates and a thicket of red tape. They must be allowed to focus on what they do best – feeding Ontarians with the highest-quality food our land can produce.”
Respect for Rural Ontario offers bold, confident ideas to make the province’s agriculture industry competitive, attractive and a leader in research and innovation. For example, an Ontario PC government will:
· Reduce the regulatory burden by a minimum of 33 per cent over three years and create one-window access to government for farmers.
· Reduce the risk for farmers by putting all Risk Management Program premiums – farmers’ and government’s – into a dedicated fund to even out good and bad years.
· Foster support and capital access for young entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector
· Improve local agriculture produce distribution networks through a new regional Food Terminal
· Ensure animal welfare inspections on farms are carried out by qualified and knowledgeable professionals
MPP Jim McDonell concluded: “The only thing standing in the way of progress to create new jobs supporting agriculture is a government that treats farming as “out of sight, out of mind”. The Liberals seem to think farming is a quaint past-time of the 19th century. What they’ve failed to understand is that modern, sophisticated farming drives job creation in every corner of Ontario. And only the Ontario PCs have a plan to build on the role of agriculture in a strong economy for all of us.”