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  • Editorial
    Thanks for nothing

    Is it just us or are some farm groups a little too fawning when it comes to government relations?

    We admit to being cynical. Mom's home-baked apple pie and anything resembling it doesn't always go down that well with us.

    Quick out of the gate with delighted congratulations to the winners following the recent provincial election were the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and l'Union des cultivateurs franco-ontariens, the Clarence Creek based French-language farm lobby group.

    Others groups may have issued similar congratulatory notes, but they didn't come to our attention.

    In his verbal pat on the back, OFA president Mark Wales said he was "particularly encouraged" that Premier Kathleen Wynne declared the government has work to do.

    Of course the government has work to do! Ontario is in the financial gutter after more than a decade of Liberal rule, a have-not province qualifying for support from Saskatchewan and Newfoundland. Governments don't deserve praise for generic statements of the obvious.

    Wales is naively looking forward to "four years of stability" that he seems to think is part and parcel of a majority government. With the Grits having pledged to spend us into even greater debt, we could in fact be facing four of the most tumultuous years in provincial history.

    Yet, the OFA president believes a majority government provides the opportunity to make headway with issues and concerns affecting his membership: "We're ready to work with the new cabinet," he pledges in another statement of the obvious.

    To his credit, Wales finally gets to the meat of the matter, that the OFA will continue pushing the government for competitively priced energy, fair farm property taxation, increased food literacy, and support for agri-skills training.

    "We can't wait to get started, working with the new majority government and both opposition parties," he trills. In our minds, a better approach would have been for the OFA to skip the niceties and demand progress on the important issues.

    As for UCFO, in its polite applause for Wynne and her government, the organization says it's sure the Liberals will continue to recognize the importance of agriculture in the Ontario economy and the reality of Franco-Ontarian farmers. Like motherhood, that's likely a sure bet.

    UCFO has similar priorities to the OFA that it mentions in the body of its note of congratulations. Once again, we would have liked something more forceful.

    Or is this all orchestrated! Is the idea for farm groups to soft-soap the government as an opening gambit and then come down hard a few months from now when no progress is being made?

    Stay tuned!

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