Guest blog by the National Farmers Union- Ontario
Spring Election 2014
The National Farmers Union – Ontario is an accredited farm organization that represents family farmers across Ontario. The NFU-O believes that agriculture should be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and that food production should lead to enriched soils, a more beautiful countryside, thriving rural communities and biodiverse natural ecosystems.
With this purpose in mind, this election, voters are being asked to carefully review where their candidates stand regarding agricultural matters. Issues ranging from how Ontario’s farmland and source water will be protected, to cost-sharing when it comes to Risk Management Programs are of high priority.
As Ontarians prepare to elect a leader this week, voters need to examine candidates’ stances on these important agricultural issues:
- Farmland and source water protection: Legislation to permanently protect Ontario’s Class One farmland and source water regions will ensure that in Ontario we can continue to farm and live within healthy communities.
- Local food: Ontarians need access to food that is healthy and safe. The government must provide support for smaller distribution channels and regional food-processing, including abattoirs and butchers.
- Rural Infrastructure: Support for economic development in rural Ontario is much needed, including continued provincial transfer payments to municipalities.
- Neonicotinoids: The NFU-O has been calling for a five-year moratorium on neonicotinoids. Pollinators must be protected to insure that Ontarians have access to food.
- Hydro rates: The increase in hydro rates affects all of Ontario, but farmers are not able to take advantage of time-of-use rates. Hydro rates need to be affordable to all Ontarians.
- Risk Management Programs: The Ontario government needs to provide their portion of the funding to the cost-shared Risk Management Programs. Ontario has refused to contribute their share to all RMPs because of a disagreement with the federal government over the structure of Ontario’s beef cattle support. The present Ontario government has been waiting out the stalemate while Ontario farmers remain in limbo.
- Canadian EU Trade Agreement: There will be significant costs for this province if the federal government signs CETA. The province needs to take a cautious approach to CETA.
Agriculture brings us much more than the food on our tables – it sustains rural communities by providing employment and jobs in the agricultural sector and beyond, providing communities with a population that supports the areas in which they live, attending and participating in churches, schools, community centres and organizations.
For more information about NFU-O’s 2014 Spring Election issues and how you can get involved, you can visit their website.