New Premier Explains Why She Chooses to Be Minister of Agriculture

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Author: Carolyn

Posted: February 11, 2013

Categories: GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Ontario / Ontario Food Policy / Policy News

Video via  City News Toronto 

Ontario’s new premier Kathleen Wynne has pledged to serve for one year as Minister of Food and Agriculture, delegating responsibility for Rural Affairs, previously joined with Food and Agriculture in a single portfolio, to rookie MPP Jeff Leal of Peterborough.

In a report by the Globe and Mail, Premier Wynne emphasized her own rural roots and belief in the interdependence of rural and urban regions in Ontario as motivation for taking on the role. Wynne says, “My roots go deep into rural Ontario, and even if they didn’t, we need to understand as urban people how interrelated we are, and so in some ways it’s a really good thing that an urban member is taking this on.”

The decision to split the cabinet position, opening up a new portfolio devoted solely to rural affairs, has drawn criticism from Opposition critics. “I think it’s a big mistake, obviously there is a direct connection between agriculture and rural affairs…that’s why it is one ministry,” says Ontario PC Agriculture critic Ernie Hardeman.

Mark Wales, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, has greeted the news more positively. Wales said that Wynne serving as both Premier and Minister of Agriculture, “brings a great profile to agriculture and rural Ontario.” Wales adds, “If the premier is bringing something to the cabinet table, that’s a key signal to the rest of cabinet that it’s important and she wants to get it done.”