submitted by Steve Gabell, GPO
Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes Ontario Greens President Steve Gabell released the following statement in response to the government’s proposed Bill 97: “Ontario’s farmland is a vital resource and once it is gone it’s gone forever. Ontario’s farmers have a clear message for the Ford government: to farm, we need farmland.
Food and farming is a $50 billion economic powerhouse. It fuels our economy, supports rural communities, and strengthens our food security. It is a cornerstone of the way of life in rural areas like Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands & Rideau Lakes.
Our farmland is some of the best in North America, but only 5% of the province is farmland, and under Doug Ford’s PC government, we’re losing 319 acres every day. With Bill 97, the Ford government is planning to further weaken protections on farmland, allowing more residential building in prime agricultural areas. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture and National Farmers Union are warning that these changes would fragment and permanently remove farmland from productive agricultural use and limit farm business growth.
Ontario Greens know there’s clear value in our food and farming sector. We know how important it is to residents of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands & Rideau Lakes. We stand with the agricultural leaders across the province fighting to protect it. “
Ontario Greens’ MPP and Leader Mike Schreiner said “we are calling on Ford to walk back on Bill 97 and the proposed provincial planning statement, to permanently protect Ontario’s prime farmland, and to step up and solve the housing crisis by building affordable homes in caring, connected communities where people actually want to live.”