Why isn’t the champion of local food serving up good news?

September 12, 2014
For Immediate Release

Simcoe  — Why are people so confused with the status of the Local Food Act?

“The part of the legislation that deals with farmers donating to food banks is of most interest,” said Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and the Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This tax credit idea for farmers was finally proclaimed August 2nd, however, food banks, farmers and the needy don’t know about this.

“The government has waited so long to move forward on the idea that they’ve wasted an entire year of the program as it’s already September – the majority of farmers have already harvested,” he continued. “What a shame for farmers, food banks and the needy.”

Barrett went on to say the idea of the tax credit was that of his colleague Bob Bailey and it received all-party support in the Ontario Legislature. He said that’s why it’s so puzzling it is taking so long to implement.

“Is this idea not receiving the immediate attention it should because it was an opposition member’s idea,” Barrett speculated. “Partisan politics shouldn’t get in the way of what is best for society’s most vulnerable.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne, the self-proclaimed “Champion of Local Food”, is making it more and more evident she is playing partisan politics with the issue. Since the Local Food Act received Royal Assent last November, the Premier and former Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has only taken time to refer to it once – during the spring election. And now that she’s been reelected there’s been nary a word on the bill.

Other important aspects of the Local Food Act are M.I.A. as well. In fact, encouraging the use of local food by public sector organizations; and increasing access to local food have yet to be proclaimed.

“Once again why isn’t this a priority? If I was in a hospital, I’d feel better knowing my food came from the field, rather than packaged into a box half way around the globe,” Barrett said.

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