Tory will build a prosperous future for Ontario's farmers

    ATHENS, ON, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory
today said that a PC Government will give farmers the fairness they deserve
and end years of neglect by the McGuinty Liberals.
    "Farming and agriculture have been the foundation of Ontario's economy
and way of life since our province's beginning. It is absolutely essential
that they remain strong and growing in the future. But today, this future is
at risk," said Tory.
    Tory said a PC government will immediately increase support for farmers
by $150 million in his government's first budget while also negotiating a new
long-term and stable support model with the federal government. By the end of
his government's first term, support for farmers will be $300 million higher
annually than it is today, or double current spending levels.

    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 and why they must navigate the
       bureaucratic process;
    -  Ensure that within 30 days of taking office, the new PC Government
       Minister of Agriculture will meet with farm organizations and work to
       develop a better process to avoid payment delays;
    -  Implement a 'Buy Ontario' strategy and ensuring that all public
       institutions purchase food from Ontario farmers; and
    -  Expand the 'Buy Local' Foodland Ontario campaign to establish Ontario
       Foods sections in stores and better promote the benefits of purchasing
       Ontario food to consumers.

    "Farmers used to be able to depend on the government for respect and
support. Ontario's farmers have not received either in the last four years,
and they're suffering because of it," Tory said.

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