May 16, 2012

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: On behalf of the PC caucus, I’m pleased to rise today to thank the Dairy Farmers of Ontario for coming to Queen’s Park and to recognize their contribution to our province.
Dairy is the largest agricultural sector in Ontario. Over 4,800 dairy farmers produce 2.5 billion litres of milk each year, enough to fill the Rogers Centre twice.
The Dairy Farmers also contribute to our province in other ways. They operate the very successful elementary school milk program, which gets milk into 70% of Ontario schools, and I know they are looking to increase that percentage to ensure that even more Ontario children get access to nutritious milk.
Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak and I will be looking forward to meeting with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario this afternoon, and the PC Party will reiterate our commitment to supply management.
We are looking forward to hearing more about some of their great programs, including the new farmer quota program, which is an initiative that the DFO started to help young farmers who may not have the resources to get into dairy farming. We’re also looking forward to hearing what the government can do to help them.
Dairy farmers, like all farmers, are impacted by increasing hydro rates and smart meters. In fact, a dairy farmer recently had a smart meter installed and called my colleague from Simcoe-Grey to ask the Premier how he was supposed to teach his cows to tell time.
Again, I thank the Dairy Farmers for coming to Queen’s Park. Tim Hudak and I look forward to meeting with them this afternoon.