Time for fairness for farmers: Tory



    Tory says PC Government will add $300 million more annually for farmers
    by end of first term

    BRESLAU, ON, June 5 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Party Leader John
Tory today said that a PC Government will give farmers the fairness they
deserve and end the neglect of the McGuinty Liberals.
    "Ontario's farmers are an integral part of our communities. Yet today,
Ontario's farming industry has been sinking deeper and deeper into financial
ruin," said Tory. "We have a responsibility to invest and build up the rural
way of life in Ontario."
    Tory said a PC government will immediately increase support for farmers
by $150 million in his party's first budget while also negotiating a new
long-term and stable support model with the federal government that farmers so
desperately need. He said that by the end of a John Tory PC Government's first
term, support for farmers will be $300 million higher annually than current
support.
    After visiting and touring a local farm with PC Caucus Members Toby
Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant), Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington) and Ernie
Hardeman (Oxford), Tory detailed the components of a PC Government plan to
address the issues facing Ontario's farmers:

    
    -  Work with farmers to negotiate a long-term, stable and flexible model
       of farm supports with the Federal Government based upon the Quebec
       agricultural model;
    -  Increase support for farmers by an additional $300 million annually by
       the end of the first term starting with an additional $150 million for
       farmers in the first budget;
    -  Implement a value-for-money audit of Agricorp in an effort to find out
       why farmers wait years for payments, need to hire specialists to
       navigate them through the bureaucratic process and then act on the
       recommendations;
    -  Within 30 days of taking office, the new PC Government Minister of
       Agriculture would meet with farm organizations and work to develop a
       better process to avoid payment delays;
    -  Show real leadership by encouraging and promoting a 'Buy Ontario'
       strategy and ensuring that all public institutions purchase food from
       Ontario farmers; and
    -  Work with farm organizations to expand the 'Buy Local' Foodland
       Ontario campaign, work with producers and the grocery industry to
       establish Ontario Foods sections in stores and better promote the
       benefits of Ontario food to consumers.
    

    "Instead of deflecting responsibility as the McGuinty Liberals have done,
a PC Government will work with the Federal Government and the farming
community to design flexible support programs that work," said Tory. "Farmers
used to be able to depend on the government for respect and support. Ontario's
farmers have not received either from the McGuinty Liberals and as a result,
our province's rural way of life is suffering."
    Dalton McGuinty's Minister of Agriculture promised in September 2006 that
farmers would receive 2003 Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization Payments
by October 2006. This did not happen.
    "We understand that farmers can't afford to wait for financial
assistance. They need real financial support immediately," said Tory. "Address
the situation facing our farmers is essential to fixing the major challenges
facing rural Ontario."
    Tory added, "We will lead by example and open up new markets for Ontario
farmers proving that government believes in the products and services our
farmers have to offer."
    For full background information, please go to www.ontariopc.com





For further information:

For further information: Brendan Howe, (416) 325-0412

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JOHN TORY

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