Desserre lists more ‘bouquets’ than ‘bricks’

If “bricks” are considered bad and “bouquets” good, then the Rainy River Federation of Agriculture grew a lot of flowers this year.
Kim Desserre gave her list of “bricks and bouquets” at the RRFA’s annual meeting Saturday night in Pinewood as one of her final duties as president.
The RRFA accomplished most of the goals it set out to do, she said, including setting up lines of communication with local MPP Howard Hampton and Kenora MPP Frank Miclash.
Desserre also had lots of thanks for board members and the other commodity groups for successfully putting together “Ag Days” and providing the NorthWest Link to district farmers.
But she noted some goals from last year’s list will have to be passed on to the next executive. One such item will be to arrange regular meetings with local MP Robert Nault.
“The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act is an area that Mr. Nault is aware we would like to be included in,” Desserre said. “Information is difficult for us to obtain. I think, since it is a federal government project, that Mr. Nault would probably have easier access to the information.”
Desserre also said farmers could feel some heavy impacts if Ottawa acts on Finance minister Paul Martin’s recommendation to axe the $500,000 capital gains exemption for farmers and small business.
“I think this proves the saying that no matter what the party, a majority government is not good for the people,” she remarked. “A minority government listens more to the people.”
Another “brick” Desserre had was the fact many RRFA members still do not have access to private telephone lines.
“This denies Internet access, as well as fax, answering machines, and other tools useful in our business,” she argued.
Desserre’s final “brick,” or half-a-brick as she put it, was aimed at the Rainy River Future Development Corp. for failing to follow up a district strategic planning session held Feb. 11.
“It was a well-facilitated, positive session,” she said. “There was supposed to be another public session in six months and a bringing together of individual sectors to develop work plans.
“The agriculture sector has not had any follow up and I’m disappointed,” she added.
Ron Bonnett of Bruce Mines, the northern liaison to the OFA executive, also was on hand Saturday night to discuss some of the issues happening at the provincial level.
One such issue involved a proposal which would reduce the OFA’s general council (outside of the executive) from 150 members to 20, cutting the number of northern directors from four to one.
“My feeling is the structure they propose can’t help the north,” Bonnett said. “I strongly believe the strength of our organization is the fact we have people coming to Toronto from across Ontario every month [for meetings].”
“How can one person represent all of Northern Ontario?” asked Linda Armstrong, who served the past year as the local OFA director. “Especially when Northern Ontario starts at just south of North Bay?”
“While we are all sympathetic to cost concerns, we need to keep adequate representation in Northern Ontario because of the great distance factor,” agreed Desserre.
Armstrong said the restructuring wasn’t accepted by the present board, and that the OFA has struck up another committee to look at its structure.