June 8, 2018
Congratulations on your historic win. In my conversations with you, you have proven to be a highly qualified MPP-elect who understands farming and food. While the NFU-O is a non-partisan organization and looks forward to meeting with MPPs across Ontario, I have come to respect you and many of your positions on agriculture.
I am eager to work with you in your official capacity as MPP on issues such as protecting the Greenbelt. As you know protecting farmland is one of the NFU-O’s core values, and we encourage you to work towards a farmland-centric plan for Ontario’s growth. As shown in both our own research and in the Senate of Canada’s report, urban sprawl, fueled by non-farm speculative acquisition, presents a clear threat for the protection of prime agricultural farmland. Developer-driven growth should not be the defining driving force over community wishes.
Every citizen has the right to define and control their own food systems as well as being able to access and afford Ontario-produced healthy, high quality food, which is grown or raised in an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable manner. This is not compatible with an export-driven food program which places corporate profit above Ontarians’ rights to access food first, and we ask that you consider Ontario’s ability to feed itself in all of your actions. Without real public policy, the government-fueled trend to larger farm operations, as well as farmland being purchased by non-farm speculative sources, is a threat to Canadian food sovereignty.
We encourage you to work with your colleagues at Queen’s Park to continue promoting and investing in rural Ontario. As well, we want you to take a look at regulations that have posed a significant barrier for next generation succession and for new entry farmers; that have imposed near-federal standards onto provincial small-scale abattoirs where compliance costs are unrealistic and unfair for the business model to survive; and that have imposed ever increasing standards for municipal infrastructure projects and services, such as road construction, fire services, and policing, while failing to ensure that funding supports match the dictates from Queen’s Park
We also believe that farmers have an important role in supporting improvements for Indigenous peoples, migrant workers, and for a more just society overall.
Once you’ve settled in to your new position, we’d love to meet with you officially to talk about agriculture priorities over the next few years. We share your vision for an agriculture system that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable and leads to enriched soils, biodiverse ecosystems, financially-viable farms, healthy and safe food, and thriving rural communities.
National Farmers Union – Ontario President
To read our letter to Premier Elect Ford, click here.
To read our letter to MPP John Vanthof, click here.