Statements – Dairy Farmers of Ontario

May 13, 2013

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I rise today to recognize the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. I was pleased to talk with them today with our leader, Tim Hudak, and have the opportunity to reiterate our commitment to supply management.

We recognize that Ontario’s dairy industry supports 75,000 jobs across the province and contributes $5 billion to Ontario’s GDP. They are a vital part of not only our rural economy, but also our food manufacturing sector. I am proud that Oxford produces more milk than any other county.

I want to commend the Dairy Farmers for the work that they are doing to bring milk into our schools through the volunteer-run school milk program and through World School Milk Day. Unlike our now Minister of Agriculture who tried to ban and restrict milk and chocolate milk in schools, we understand the benefit of giving our students access to fresh, nutritious milk. It is a local food, and we on this side of the House are proud to support milk in schools.

Rather than banning foods, we believe the best approach is to work with groups like the Dairy Farmers to increase the food knowledge among our students. That’s why earlier this week we announced that we will be introducing an amendment to the Local Food Act to require food education in the curriculum in all grades. I hope that all parties will support that amendment.

I want to thank the Dairy Farmers of Ontario for coming to Queen’s Park to update us on their industry. I also want to thank them for providing Ontarians with safe, high-quality, Ontario milk.

Mr. Speaker, in my introductions this morning, I did forget the chair of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Bill Emmott. Following you, I wish to introduce him to the Legislature and welcome him.