Can a Premier be an Effective Ag Minister?

Premier-elect of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, has officially announced she’ll take on the ag portfolio in addition to her duties as premier when she is sworn in on February 11, 2013. As a very busy, multi-tasking woman myself, my hat goes off to her.

From Twitter: @Kathleen_Wynne “Committed to serve as Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs to create a new, respectful conversation w/ rural Ontario #onpoli #ontag”

But here’s what I think — the more you take on, the less total time you can devote to each task. As a mum of two kids, with a full time job, a husband who works long hours, travel for both said jobs, a few volunteer gigs, hobbies and a household to run, I barely have time to buy groceries, let alone cook. I know first-hand, the guilt over trying to squeeze quality time with my kids around making dinner, doing laundry and posting about agronomy. While everything seems to get done, and being motivated and productive is good, there is such thing as biting off more than you can chew. Which leads me to the question — should a premier also take on a major portfolio? If so, is Ms. Wynne the best choice for ag minister? Have your say in our latest poll, or leave a comment below.

 

 

Lyndsey Smith

Lyndsey Smith is a field editor for RealAgriculture. A self-proclaimed agnerd, Lyndsey is passionate about all things farming but is especially thrilled by agronomy and livestock production.

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7 Comments

Shaun Haney

My first guess on this was that she wasn’t able to get anyone else to be ag-minister. I think people should be upset that the ag portfolio will take time away from her full duties of being premier. I love her glasses though, very trendy.

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Lyndsey Smith

Trust Shaun to comment on fashion. I think it’s too much — it’s great optics and all feel-good, but will the duties simply be shunted to someone else? Maybe.

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Mcnunner

This is a bit disturbing, in my view. To me, it implies that the Ontario government doesn’t view agriculture as an important industry in the province. Is Agriculture not exciting, sexy, and full of opportunity today? Shouldn’t the leaders in the agriculture industry do their best to ensure that this industry continues to drive the economy forward? Perhaps agriculture is only important in Manitoba, Alberta, and here in Saskatchewan. Maybe I have it wrong and the ‘trendy’ premier-elect wants to ensure she has an invitation to the agriculture party.

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mcintiler

I commend her for wanting the double load but I doubt either job will get the attention it needs. Heard the new Ont deputy ag minister last night at OSCIA annual – also a woman. Who knows where this is going – the Liberals under McGinty sure dumped on rural Ontario from the get go.

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Charlene

Pretty sure I wouldn’t appoint myself to be directly responsible for Downtown Toronto. Not sure it will be great for her to be responsible for the rural aspect. City mouse coming to the country? Will she ask thoughtful questions and bring new perspective, or is it way too steep a learning curve?

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Rob

Your question “should a premier also take on a major portfolio?” makes an assumption that Agriculture and food is viewed as a major portfolio. Unfortunately, it is not. Health, education, finance…those are major portfolios. I commend the Premier designate for being committed, but a person can only do so much and do it well. I think that ag, food and rural Ontario will benefit for the next few weeks by having higher profile and more attention than in the past, but once the workload and bigger issues start to pile but, like the poor fiscal situation, ag will be lost in the shuffle.

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Philip Shaw

I don’t see any problem with Kathleen Wynne being ag minister. That portfolio is a very minor one on Ontario, compared to health, education and just about anything else. How could she be any worse than her predecessors? Wynne’s problem is votes in rural Ontario…which is the key to getting back to majority status. That’s her greatest challenge, and how she massages the ag portfolio might help her and the LIberal party. However, I expect an election within 4-5 weeks, then all of this will be mute.

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