Uncertainty swirls with regard to Local Food Act

Barrett and Bailey question politics of the bill

September 9, 2014
For Immediate Release

OUTDOOR FARM SHOW, WOODSTOCK — Where does the Local Food Act stand?

That’s the question MPPs Toby Barrett and Bob Bailey are asking. Despite the Local Food Act being proclaimed some time ago, there are parts of the bill that are still not in effect. The two sections the Opposition MPPs are most concerned with are targets for:

* Encouraging increased use of local food by public sector organizations; and
* Increasing access to local food through a tax credit for farmers who donate to community food programs and food banks – an amendment made by the PC Caucus based on a Private Members Bill by Bailey.

“I introduced my Private Members Bill, the Food Bank Tax Credit, several years ago,” said Bailey who is the member for Sarnia-Lambton. “It received support then, as did the subsequent government legislation – why then is there this hold up for farmers, food banks and those in need?”

“Ironically, Premier Wynne, who claims to be the champion of local food, purposely left these two items out of the bill when it was proclaimed but then spoke of the tax credit in her election platform,” Barrett said — Barrett is the Official Opposition’s Critic for Agriculture and Rural Affairs. “But now that she’s been re-elected, she sits on the best parts of this legislation.”

Barrett said his office has spent the good part of a week attempting to get an explanation from the Minister of Agriculture’s office on both the tax credit and procurement idea, to no avail.

“These two ideas are effective yet simple so I don’t understand why the details remain so obscure.”

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