Jim Merriam, Chatham Daily News
Would it be Premier-Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne? Or does Agriculture Minister-Premier Kathleen Wynne sound better? No matter how you slice them, it is difficult to make the two titles work together. But how you say them is but a tiny problem in comparison to how you combine the two jobs and do them both well.
Wynne mentioned after she won the Liberal leadership she would serve a term as agriculture minister. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Under Premier Dalton McGuinty, agriculture was no more than an afterthought. Time and again the policies of the ag ministry worked against, instead of for, farmers.
On one hand, the ministry hit small abattoirs in the province with such burdensome and often ridiculous regulations that many closed. At the same time, the government was promoting local food — you know, eat food produced within 100 kilometres of home to help local farmers. With no abattoir within 300 km, that becomes pretty difficult.
But those are only part of the concerns. The full name of the ministry is the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs or OMAFRA. As much as agriculture and food production are in serious need of attention, there are major issues under the broader “rural” heading.
Main among these is the placement of wind turbines, an issue that has torn communities, rural churches and even families apart. In addition, the government has trampled the democratic rights of rural residents in its attempts to kiss up to overseas corporations that bring us the giant wind turbines. Read article