By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
The closure of Alfred and Kemptville agricultural colleges is shaping up to what appears to be an election issue for certain rural ridings in eastern Ontario, where the colleges are located.
On Monday, Grant Crack the Liberal candidate for the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell told Farms.com that Provincial Facilitators had been appointed as of Friday [May 2, 2014]. “I am happy to report that we have facilitators in place,” he said.
But new details now suggest that the facilitator announcement may not have been as rosy as Mr. Crack had intended. Originally, Crack had said that “the government of the day did not want to put things on hold just because of an election campaign.” He has since retracted that statement, and is now saying that the process has been “put on hold.”
Crack provided clarification on the facilitator appointments in a more recent interview with Farms.com.
“After consulting with the Secretary of Cabinet Office…he [Peter Wallace] made it clear that the government cannot spend money,” said Crack adding that despite not being able to spend new money, at least the terms of reference have been made.
He was also quick to point the finger at the opposition parties for forcing an election. According to Crack, the PC-Tory’s have been “chopping at the bit,” since Oct. 7. 2011, and the NDP indicated that they could not support the Liberal’s budget. “They have no one else to blame but themselves for putting this process on hold,” he said. “At the end of the day it was our government that made progress on the file and they delayed it.”
PC MPP Steve Clark Calls the Move a Liberal “PR Stunt”
The latest revelation about the facilitators not being able to start work with the community groups until after the June 12 election did not sit well with Leeds-Grenville PC MPP Steve Clark.
“Clearly what Mr. Crack tried to do yesterday was just a publicity stunt to try and save face for the government in the agriculture community,” he said in an interview.
Kemptville College is in Clark’s riding, so it’s not surprising that he would be vocal on the issue.
“Every day they kept telling us that a facilitator would be appointed…and again they have just dragged their feet until they had no more time,” explained Clark adding that the government had two months to appoint facilitators.
Clark reaffirmed that his party is committed to agriculture education.