Food for thought

Dear sir:

The provincial government, under Premier Ernie Eves, announced Ontario would provide $17.5 million to further the province’s beef producers. This is in addition to the $35 million our government already has committed—bringing Ontario’s total commitment to $52.5 million.

Beef farmers, including those in the Kenora-Rainy River districts, have been hit hard since the Canadian border was shut down to beef exports after a single Alberta cow tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in May.

While the province has responded and worked closely with the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association, the federal Liberal government is insisting that their share of funding to help beef farmers only will be available when provinces sign onto the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF).

The Ontario Cattlemen’s Association finds this unacceptable as there are significant changes required to the APF in order for the program to provide meaningful coverage of losses due to BSE.

Our provincial government, under Premier Eves, has risen to the occasion and brought forth their funding commitments. Unfortunately, Dalton McGuinty’s federal Liberal cousins do not appear to believe it is important to help beef farmers through this crisis.

And, NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton has been absent on this issue.

On a further note, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals promise municipalities like Toronto will get two cents per litre of Ontario’s gas tax—or $312 million per year for Toronto transit! That means northern drivers will be subsidizing Toronto’s transit system with our gas taxes.

And Mr. Hampton would turn three cents/litre of the gas tax over to cities like Toronto for their public transit and GO train service.

One last bit of food for thought—both Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Hampton decry the state of the province’s electrical grid system, the problems with deregulation and our lack of new generating capacity, and “dirty” coal plants—all apparently the Tories’ fault.

Both seem to forget the fact the grid problems and lack of sufficient generating capacity developed over several decades. It takes a decade or so to decide on, design, and develop a major generating station or grid expansion, meaning Liberals and NDP (who were in charge from 1985-95) played key roles in the province’s lack of power planning.

It’s interesting to note Mr. Hampton is now a keen backer of the resurrected Conawapa project with Manitoba. But he never mentions it was his party in power, and that he had a seat at the cabinet table, when the very political decision was made to scrap the project in 1991—requiring Ontario to pony up a $150-million penalty.

Thank you, Mr. Editor, for your time and space. I ask only that you and your readers think before you vote on Oct. 2.

Gary Judson
Emo, Ont.