The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is building support for its vision of Ontario agriculture and food and it’s banking on a new partnership with other key stakeholders to make politicians take notice.
With a provincial election campaign just over three months away, OFA travelled to Queen’s Park last week to ask politicians to spread economic development dollars across both urban and rural centres when growing the Ontario economy.
“Ontario’s agri-food sector is an economic powerhouse for the province, and we are encouraging the government to make greater investments in agri-food and rural communities as a sustainable and effective way to deliver growth and prosperity for all Ontarians,” says OFA President Keith Currie.
Flanked by representatives from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, Currie called for the next Ontario government to pursue a policy of distributed economic development, which includes investment in infrastructure that will support the agri-food industry and rural communities.
“We fully support OFA’s initiative to focus on new investments in rural communities that will assist existing businesses, attract new companies, and boost opportunities for residents and regional economic development,” says Gerry Marshall, chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus.
OFA’s “Producing Prosperity in Ontario” election campaign focuses on five key policy areas including: economic development, job creation, affordable housing, increased food security and environmental stewardship.
In this interview with RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin, Currie explains that investment in natural gas infrastructure is a top priority. He says he understands that bringing gas to rural areas is a big ticket expense but maintains that the economic return would be substantial. Currie also discusses the challenge of getting Ontarians focused on issues in the wake of an eleventh-hour Progressive Conservative leadership campaign.