FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 30, 2023
QUEEN’S PARK— Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Bobbi Ann Brady chided the government for delaying Bill 97 consultations. She also asked for clarity on the proposal, which is now seemingly under revision. The original proposal made allowances for each Ontario farm to have three severances, but Premier Ford seems to be stepping back on those plans.
Brady was primarily unhappy that the government, after formulating the original proposal, seemed only recently to have met with farm organizations. Brady reminded the House this past winter she introduced her first Private Member’s Bill—a bill designed to protect Ontario’s most productive lands, a bill that was supported by Ontario’s top farm groups and virtually all stakeholders except those in the government—those who regularly purport to be pro farmer.
“[The government’s] consultation after the fact is really a moot point…Before I introduced my bill, I met with farmers, I met with farm organizations, and I solicited their opinion ahead of time,” said Brady. “A government in touch with rural Ontario would have known this was not a good idea in the first place…The past few days, we hear this government backing down on the original proposal, but where will we land?”
Brady conveyed concerns that this government’s pre-occupation with building houses is clouding judgment and this proposed policy puts 510,000 acres of Ontario farmland in jeopardy. And she flagged Oxford County’s report warning that 10% of its prime agricultural land is in danger of being lost forever.
“[Farmers] see the value in one succession planning lot but three? Speaker, through you to the minister, what was the significance of the three lots to begin with and how will this government proceed on this policy?”
Both Premier Ford and Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson responded with no definitive direction, but they maintained that they’ve had consultations with farmers as of late.
“Speaker, through you to the Minister, will this government announce today that their trial balloon has been popped, and will they back down on this policy?” asked Brady.
For more information, contact MPP Bobbi Ann Brady at [email protected] or 519-428-0446