Stewardship co-ordinator positions eliminated

For immediate release:
Oct. 10, 2012

SIMCOE – Rural Ontarians are paying the price of provincial program cuts, according to MPP Toby Barrett. The latest example is the cancellation of stewardship co-ordinator positions across Ontario.

Because of cutbacks, 45 stewardship co-ordinators will be replaced by 25 new partnership specialists. The changes will affect Haldimand and Norfolk, and were done without any consultation.

The Ministry of Natural Resources stewardship program is a bridge between government and farmers. A volunteer council administers the program under the advice from the stewardship co-ordinator.

Historically, there has been distrust from landowners towards the ministry – a sentiment the program helped improve. The stewardship co-ordinator is more than a community liaison and a biological advisor for the volunteers on the stewardship council, it’s a position that is charged with fundraising for the program. Since the advent of the program in the 1990s, more than $11 million has been raised to help the environment from the $1 million the province invested in the program.

Due to reckless spending elsewhere, Barrett said rural Ontario is bearing the brunt.

“During the recession of the mid-90s when we took over, money was tight, but we maintained the stewardship program,” he said.

Cutbacks wouldn’t be necessary if it wasn’t for reckless spending, Barrett said, listing these examples:

* $640 million wasted on cancelling of two gas plants
* Millions wasted on Ornge air ambulance
* More than $1 billion wasted on E-Health.


For more information contact:

MPP Toby Barrett 519-428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629