Agriculture minister promotes Ontario-grown campaign

animal health more than the farmers who



or four sessions a day, talking to



stakeholders, listening to them and

who treat their animals with respect and

working collaboratively to grow together


love, and recognize that they are the key

what I believe is the best industry in the

“Grown in Ontario” would be on

component to making their livelihood.”

world. By the way, the number one

billboards in every farming community in

As Ontario’s new agriculture minister,

economic driver in all Ontario is

the province and in at least one part of

McMeekin described himself as an :”old

agriculture and food processing.

every grocery store. Helping look after the

school” type of manager.

“None of us is as strong as all of us,” he

interests of the province’s farming sector

“I believe in management by walking

said. “That’s what partnerships are all

as the agriculture minister starts with

around, which is why, since being


promoting what farmers, ranchers, and



others produce in their fields and barns.

in the last five months, talking directly to

farming in Ontario, but warned that it will

McMeekin spent Thursday in Prescott-

people on the ground,” he said.

require constant work and vigilance.

Russell meeting with local farmers and

He noted that it is not just a job for the

“It’s an ongoing process. We have some

representatives of regional agriculture

provincial government or the federal

challenges. Some of those challenges will

groups in Bourget in themorning and then

government but for everyone.

relate, potentially, to the global

visiting the St-Albert Cheese Factory in the


competition. We’re in a global economy.

afternoon. During his talks he mentioned

if the shoe fits, you have to ask the person

There are some concerns that are

a recent survey of householders in Ontario

that wears it, not the person that made it.’ I


stated that 92 per cent preferred to buy

have 57,112 ‘professors’ called farmers all

trade regulations existing and those of

meat, fruit and vegetables that come from

across Ontario who are prepared to give

potential.We’reworking very very closely

Ontario farms over imported produce and

this good minister a lecture on any one of a

with Minister Ritz in the federal

meats at their local stores.

number of topics at the drop of a hat. So I’m

government to ensure that the supply-

“They said that Ontario produce is the

trying to take advantage of that, to learn as

management side of agriculture is kept

most nutritious, the best-tasting, and the

much as I can, because if you have good

strong, and that those areas of agriculture

safest in the world,” he said. “Ninety-two

Photo Gregg Chamberlain

information, guess what? You tend tomake

per cent of Ontario says that. That is the

that aren’t currently supply-managed are

good decisions. If you don’t know what

Ted McMeekin: Making a

biggest advantage we have when we look


you’re talking about, guess what? You tend

pitch for local production.

at exporting.”

to make bad decisions. So I’m out there,

sure our farm families do well.”

McMeekin agreed with suggestions

from the farming community that more

work is needed to educate the general


public, both in Ontario and outside of the


“The farmers have been saying to me

and my staff team here that we need to


continue to tell our story,” he said during

a Vision interview, “because it’s a good

story, that the Ontario Foodland brand is


open for

for us to do more on the education front,

and to have more people understand that

we produce the best-tasting, most

nutritious, safest food in the world.”


He described the proposed Ontario

Food Act as a key factor in that effort, and

is one of the main discussion items on his

tour agenda throughout the province and

Area tourist information centres are

alsowith federal government officials. The

open for the new season, Tourisme

legislation is a joint effort by McMeekin’s




ministry and also the health ministry.


“The Ontario Food Act is something

With a mandate to promote local

that we’ve been talking about for a while,”

business in Prescott-Russell, students


a vision for agriculture and the importance

have followed an intensive orientation

of food to those we represent in Ontario. It

program by visiting more than 70 tourist

would have a lot to do with nutrition,


health, economic viability, how we work

“The training allowed me to learn so

together to grow the sector, and how,

much more about my region to the point

essentially we get more Ontario produce

where I realized that it is an outstanding

Submitted photo

on Ontario tables, and continue to spread

place! It’s going to be much easier for me


our brand around the world. So it has an

to explain the attractions of the regions to

economic development component, it has


visitors and encourage them to extend

an education component, it has a support

their stay,” said one employee.

component. We basically want to get more

Added another: “While working at the

people eating Ontario produce.”

Pupils help

recreational trail, I meet countless cyclists.

During his Bourget stop, McMeekin

I can now accurately answer their

heard comments from several farmers

questions and invite them to spend more

expressing concerns about the impact that

time in the region.”

educate drivers

animal rights groups like People for the

The information centres are located at

Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and

the Long Sault Bridge inHawkesbury, the

the Society for the Prevent of Cruelty to

Vankleek Hill Museum and the

Animals (SPCA) have now on farming


Casselman Train Station.

practices and their potential impact on the

Everyone is invited to visit the centres

market for farm produce, especially meat,

to obtain a copy of the regional tourist

milk, and cheese.

Area pupils are helping the Regional Action Committee for Safety spread the

guide, a map and cyclist map.

“There are some folks out there who

word about the dangers of impaired driving.

An innovation this year: Limoges’

have concerns about a number of different

During the Victoria Day weekend, drawings by local students were given to LCBO

tourist information kiosque will now be

issues,” McMeekin said. “Often they don’t

clients in Hawkesbury, Alfred, L’Orignal, Vankleek Hill and St-Eugène. Each drawing

located in the Calypso waterpark and it

have a clue about what’s going on on the

contained a message warning motorists about drunk driving.

will be exclusively available to the park’s

farm or the importance of what farming is

The contests winners of each participating schools are: École St-Grégoire , Vankleek

all about, but we need to take whatever


Hill, Mélissa Séguin, and Cara; École Paul VI, Hawkesbury, Nicolas Farrah, Sabrina

concerns they do have seriously, and find

The tourist information centres will be

Barnes; St-Jude‘s Catholic School, Valerie, Amanda Bechamp, École Le Sommet,

ways to work with everybody tomove our

Hawkesbury, Gabriel Laroque, Émélie Bernier; École secondaire régionale de

open every day for the summer season.

industry forward. That’s whymyministry

Hawkesbury, Alexandra Villeneuve, Karianne Lalonde; École Ste-Marguerite

All the students are ready to welcome

is working with a couple other ministries,

Bourgeois, Rosalie Lanthier, Alexandre Nantel.

guests, to share their enthusiasm with

and with the stakeholders, together to

The CARS committee is comprised of representatives of the Hawkesbury Ontario

them and to demonstrate their wide

rationalize the processes around animal

Provincial Police detachment, the Hawkesbury Fire Department, Prescott-Russell

knowledge of the region.

and animal health. That’s important. I

Emergency Services, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, RCMP, Berthiaume Funeral

For more information, 1-800-361-7439

should say, off the top, that nobody

Home, Cooperators Insurance and other community volunteers. More information on



appreciates or understands and values

CARS and its activities available at the “CARS Hawkesbury” Facebook page.

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