ST THOMAS – It’s time to recognize the vital role our agricultural sector plays in the functioning of our Ontario’s economy. Ensuring the agricultural sector thrives will help this province lead Canada in job creation said Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek.
Yurek made the comments following the launch of the latest Paths to Prosperity policy paper: Respect for Rural Ontario. This is the 12th policy paper aimed at strengthening Ontario’s economy.
“Agriculture forms the foundation for our overall economy,” said Yurek. “This sector has been a mainstay of job creation.”
Yurek noted that 10 years of Toronto centric policies have treated farming and rural Ontario like a relic of the 19th century. Red tape and high energy costs have taken a toll on the agriculture community.
“Modern farming and food processing are sophisticated industries with the potential to create jobs not just in rural Ontario but urban centres like the GTA.
“I reject the current government’s approach that has created the rural-urban divide we see today. Agriculture not only employs people in rural communities, it creates thousands of urban jobs in sectors like food processing.”
Yurek noted that the most recent blunder to cancel the Slots at Raceways program is indicative of the current government’s disregard for rural Ontario.
“Not only has horse-racing been a cultural symbol of rural Ontario for decades, it employs 60,000 people both directly and indirectly. Yet the government has decided to push it aside in favour of big international casino corporations.”
The PC Party has committed to cancelling the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s plan to abandon racetrack slots and spend money on new casinos. It will instead build partnerships that allow horse tracks to purchase licences to operate slots. This will save the horse industry and provide a good return for the taxpayer.
“It’s clear that we must reverse course on 10 years of policy that has favoured Toronto bureaucrats while neglecting our rural communities. By creating an environment that acknowledges the economic potential of rural Ontario, we can create jobs and drive our economy forward.”