NDP critic for agriculture, food and rural affairs, John Vanthof, meets with Local Farmers

On Saturday, February 2nd, John Vanthof, Food, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs critic and NDP MPP for Temiskaming-Cochrane visited Peterborough. It proved to be a very full and productive day. John started his visit by attending the Peterborough Farmer's Market for several hours where he spoke with many vendors and local food producers. As a dairy farmer for over 30 years, John was able to discuss issues raised by some of our producers from a position of experience. The people John spoke with were appreciative of that perspective. John then attended a meeting of local riding association members and executive at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

After an hour's chat and quick lunch, Mr. Vanthof was off to Carmel Line to meet with local mayors, reeves and members of the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture. This gathering was hosted at Squirrel Creek Farm by owner Steve Brackenridge, President of the local Federation of Agriculture.

Some of the issues discussed included Ontario’s agriculture and food strategy; creating a reliable and affordable energy system in the province; regulation of the local farm act, including changes to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (OSPCA), protection of endangered species beyond just habitat preservation and the amendment of the Aggregates Resources Act to secure the preservation of top soil.

Another major issue brought up was the provincial government's need to invest in rural Ontario to ensure those residents had access to a similar range and quality of services and infrastructure as all others with regard to health care, education internet access, maintained infrastructure and services delivered by municipal governments.

As at the Farmer's Market, those in attendance appreciated John's familiarity with the issues faced by food producers and municipal politician in rural Ontario as well as his straight-forward answers to their concerns and questions.

Host Steve Brackenridge was quoted in the Peterborough Examiner as saying, “It was a great opportunity to go one-one-one with someone like him. He is a farmer himself and understands the issues. His comments were fair. We were pleased he took the time to talk us and that the NDP may lead on some of the issues.”

Later that evening, John, with me as his date attended the Peterborough Cattlemen Association's Annual Dinner and Dance at the Douro Community Centre, where he once more charmed those to whom he spoke with his knowledge and his easy style. It was, as said before, a very long but very productive visit by Mr. Vantof to our riding.

It was also very much appreciated by those he spoke with and our riding association.

With regard to his experience as a working farmer for over 30 years and his new career as an MPP, John was again quoted in the Examiner as saying,“(The issues) are similar everywhere. One of my main concerns is people feel they are being dictated to by the government but they want to be part of the solution and have their voices heard. We need accountability from certain groups like the OSPCA and more of a balance.”

Read local Coverage here.

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commented 2013-12-21 19:15:59 -0500 · Flag
Thank you