The Greens promise to protect farmland; the Liberals don’t include ag in their platform
By Diego Flammini
As election day in Ontario gets closer, Farms.com is continuing its coverage of political party platforms to give farmers and rural Ontarians a sense of what each party is promising should they form the next government.
This article focuses on the Green Party of Ontario, led by Mike Schreiner.
The party’s platform, The Green Plan, includes a section dedicated to supporting local food systems.
As part of the ag commitments identified in that section, a Green government would:
- Permanently protect prime farmland from non-agricultural use.
- Move Class 1 and Class 2 soils from the Whitebelt to the Greenbelt.
- Provide tax incentives for food and beverage producers who purchase inputs from local farmers.
- Revise crop insurance programs to support farming practices designed to improve soil health.
- Increase investments in risk management programs to meet or exceed the previous 85 per cent coverage.
- Protect farmers against losses for up to 10 years as they transition from chemical agriculture to-soil health agriculture.
- Eliminate property tax penalties for farmers with small-scale, value-added production facilities on farm.
A Green government also has plans for rural Ontario in general.
Some of the promises for rural Ontario include helping ensure healthcare access in those communities and ensuring updated education funding includes the unique needs of rural and remote communities.
The Liberal Party of Ontario’s platform is also available for the public.
Leader Steven Del Duca and the Liberal Party have very few mentions of agriculture, farming or rural Ontario in the document.
A document search found zero mentions of the word “rural,” and zero mentions of the word “agriculture.”
The only indication of an ag-related item references redirecting funding earmarked for Highway 413.
“We can build Highway 413 over wetlands and farmland to save GTA commuters just 30 seconds per trip. Or we can invest in our kids and build safe schools across the province,” the platform document says.
Farms.com has contacted representatives from the Liberal Party for comment on where agriculture may factor into the election campaign.
Click the links to read about where ag fits into the NDP and Progressive Conservative plans.