In a few days, our Premier-designate will announce a new Cabinet and hopefully lay out the intentions of this government, however short it may be.
One thing is certain, Ms. Wynne will appoint herself as the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs after she is installed as Premier of Ontario.
While musing with reporters, she prided herself in the familiarity of select information relating to the farm.
I shall give her points as it is painfully apparent she already has more knowledge with respect to farming than our recent past Premier, Mr. McGuinty…..in my private opinion.
But if Ms. Wynne is to succeed as Minister of Agriculture, she must prove she will not hold agriculture in contempt in the same manner as her predecessor, the (soon-to-be) former Premier. She must not exercise knowledge filtration in regards to the public’s substantive interests in agriculture either.
Ms. Wynne is currently fond of expounding her fondness of all things “rural”. When she speaks fondly of her dad spending summers on a farm near Watford, one conjures up the wholesome image of lying on a slope by the pond on the back 40, chewing on straw on a hot summers’ day just’a itching to get out the blue-striped bib coveralls for a cool dip in the water…..as the rest of the world slips quietly away…..lost to the gentle noises of the frogs, crickets and other wildlife that roam fearlessly nearby. (should I sprinkle a little fairy dust here?)
No, Ms. Wynne might know the definition of “rural” but does she know the difference between ‘rural’ and ‘agriculture’?
Rural has been defined by the U.S.A. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service as; "Metro/urban areas can be defined using several criteria. Once this is done, non-metro/rural is then defined by exclusion -- any area that is not metro/urban is non-metro/rural,” with further parameters “rural or urban population of fewer than 2,500 not adjacent to a metro area”.
In essence the USDA determines and defines urban-metro areas and then by exclusion, determines all areas outside urban-metro clusters as “rural”.
Rural is also defined as “of the countryside”, “open land” and “open space”.
Rural folk are acknowledged by sheer exclusion. While I cannot find an Ontario definition, from past experiences, I believe the (soon-to-be) former Premier of Ontario exploited and exercised the USDA definition of “rural”.
Ms. Wynne says she wants to take on the responsibilities of Agriculture.
Agriculture is defined as a “person that tills the soil a/o raise stock”.
It is about a “class of persons working in conjunction with natural resources”.
Agriculture is not an industry.
Agriculture is not a zoning.
Agriculture consists of two components. It deals with liberty and security of “persons” interconnected with liberty and security of “property”.
When this province was being settled, the Crown appropriated land grants to qualified “persons” under an ancient system, Free and Common Soccage. In reality, the Crown awarded Sovereign contracts in the form of land patents to a class of people… the farmers.
In the words of our first Lt. Governor in his first speech to the Parliament of Upper Canada; “that a numerous and agricultural people will speedily take possession of the soil and climate, which under the British laws,….”
Appropriation is also a Designation of Use. Farmers were appropriated rights to the soil and climate.
So when the Crown awarded land grants to farmers for the use and enjoyment of the soil and climate, the lands were designated Agricultural Use by Sovereign Seal.
The land grants are farmers’ Sovereign Production Licences. The Minister of Agriculture has a responsibility to oversee the Sovereign Production Licences.
The Minister of Agriculture has a few annual Constitutional requirements and responsibilities towards Cabinet.
The Premier of Ontario presides over Cabinet.
If the Premier and the Minister of Agriculture are one in the same, will there be accountability in Agriculture? Who holds the Minister of Agriculture accountable if she is remiss in her duties?
Who determines accountability of any communication deficiencies in regards to agriculture?
Will there be a conflict of interest in regards to Sovereign Production Licences and other matters in regards to agriculture inside the Premiers’ Office?
Now isn't that interesting!
Premier Wynne will be the Minister of Agriculture.
Mr. Jeff Leal is now be the Minister of Rural Affairs.
I wonder how 2 ministers, including the Premier's office will administer OMAFRA? I just can't see OMAFRA being split as Ms. Wynne is only committing herself as Agriculture Minister for 1 year.
Where does the important food sector fall in all of this ?
Ms Wynne has made a 3 way split of a recent, less than powerful ministry--- basically ignored food, despite the cries of buy local and the Foodland Ontario initiative. The FO has fallen way behind in recent years.
Fortunately, Jeff Leal is from Peterboro and has some concept of Rural.
More ministers/portfolios - means bigger salary, assistants, car, driver, eventual pension, new letterhead, signage, etc.....underlings....wont be saving any $.
I am willing to bet OMAFRA people in the Ivory tower on Stone road in Guelph are very, very nervous. And they should be.