FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 3, 2016
QUEEN’S PARK – MPPs Toby Barrett and Lisa Thompson raised the issue of just how much influence the Ontario Minister of the Environment is having on agriculture policy during Question Period today.
Thompson set the stage, asking the Minister of Environment and Climate Change about recent remarks about Ontario cattle producers in relation to the methane and greenhouse gases produced by cattle. This despite a recent report showing a decrease in methane, nitrous dioxide and carbon dioxide from the cattle industry over the past 30 years. The minister’s remarks resulted in a barrage of Twitter responses.
Barrett followed up, asking when the Minister of Agriculture will speak up for farmers and why there are no incentives for farmers, agri-food and forestry to capture and sequester carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
“The Beef Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture have put forward practical, do-able climate change proposals,” Barrett explained to the Legislature. “But in contrast to other ministries, OMAFRA did not get the budgeted green investment fund.”
Barrett’s question – “When will we hear from the Minister of Agriculture – who consistently seems to be no action and no talk? When will he speak up” – resulted in the minister saying people will have to wait until the plan is revealed.
“The Minister of Agriculture may promise a substantial plan for carbon capture, but the fact is there are no budget dollars for it. I have seen Liberal math before,” Barrett concluded.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]
ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: My question is for the environment minister. Beef farmers have been effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the last 30 years, but that didn’t stop the minister from suggesting that Ontarians should stop eating red meat on Mondays. Obviously, this would hurt the beef industry and completely ignores the good work Ontario farmers are doing.
Even Liberal candidate of record and former OMAFRA staffer Stewart Skinner slammed the minister’s idea, saying on Twitter that now the minister is “attacking livestock farmers, he ignores fertilizer value of manure, soil health, carbon capture potential of silvopasture.”
Did the minister clarify his meatless Monday policy position with the Premier or the current Minister of Agriculture, or is this another example of him putting his foot in his mouth?
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Well, as you would know, you never know when I’m going to strike. The member from Prince Edward–Hastings, second time.
Hon. Glen R. Murray: Sometimes you can’t win for love or money, Mr. Speaker. I was laughing when she said Twitter, because the Minister of Northern Development and Mines was—
Mr. John Yakabuski: Tell us about the nukes, Glen.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, warning.
Carry on, please.
Hon. Glen R. Murray: —severely criticized for eating meat and promoting beef out in front with the beef farmers last year from a certain class of environmentalists.
It’s interesting, because one of the things I did say, and I think this is common knowledge, is that if you did not eat meat one day a week for a year, that’s the equivalent of a carbon dioxide reduction of not driving your car 3,800 kilometres. I actually love beef. I love hamburgers and I eat them regularly. I think they’re great.
I want to conclude by saying one thing, if I can get this out, because it’s important. We’re actually working with beef farmers right now on an enzyme that will—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.
Mr. Toby Barrett: Well, we just heard the Minister of the Environment’s position on climate change and his hoof-and-mouth attitude towards livestock agriculture. However, when will the Minister of Agriculture speak up? …
… on climate change and his hoof-and-mouth attitude towards livestock agriculture; however, when will the Minister of Agriculture speak up? Where are the incentives for not only farmers but also agri-food, forestry to capture and sequester carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases?
The Beef Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture have put forward practical, doable climate change proposals but, in contrast to other ministries, OMAFRA did not get the budgeted Green Investment Fund.
We’ve heard from the Minister of the Environment, when will we hear from the Minister of Agriculture on this, who consistently seems to be not only no action but no talk? When will he speak up?
Hon. Glen R. Murray: I’d like to continue this conversation with my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Hon. Jeff Leal: Just for the record, I had a barbequed steak on Sunday—corn-fed beef—and it was delicious.
To respond to my friend from Haldimand–Norfolk: Through the climate change process, my ministry has been very involved on a step-by-step basis as we go forward. I’ve had productive discussions with my good friend, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and I would say to the members opposite: Just wait until we unveil the plan; there will be something substantial for agriculture in the province of Ontario.