March 19, 2014

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Minister, I know from past experience that the minister is involved when the University of Guelph recommends closing Alfred and Kemptville agriculture colleges. When I was the minister and I was asked, I protected the Alfred and Kemptville colleges because I recognized their value. Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.
Mr. Ernie Hardeman: When Noble Villeneuve, the former member from Stormont–Dundas–Glengarry and East Grenville was Minister of Agriculture, he protected them, too.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Minister of the Environment.
Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Minister, why didn’t you?
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Order. The member from Thunder Bay–Atikokan, come to order.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): No, no, no. When I say stop, you stop.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know that my critic, the member opposite, understands that this is an issue that the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities has responsibility for. I also know that as the Minister of Agriculture and Food, I am very concerned that there are programs in place for young people to be able to get into the agriculture and food industry. It’s extremely, extremely important to me.
I also know that the member opposite knows that the member for Glengarry–Prescott–Russell has worked so that there is a partnership that has been created for the Alfred campus—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from Simcoe North, come to order.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: —and he also knows that we are open to partnerships, understanding that the program is not closing—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Lambton–Kent–Middlesex.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: —but that the venue is changing. We are open to partnerships so that there can be a local solution, and I think the member opposite knows that full well.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Minister, operating Alfred and Kemptville colleges was one of the four conditions for Guelph in their enhanced agreement to operate, and that is an agreement with OMAFRA, your ministry.
An economic impact study of that partnership said that the campuses were crucial to the agricultural research science process and training development. Guelph is still getting the partnership funds, so if they are no longer required to operate the campuses, why did your government bargain that requirement away?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. The member from Nepean–Carleton will come to order. The member from Oxford will come to order. The Minister of Energy will come to order. I’m not happy to hear that.
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Hon. Brad Duguid: It’s not by accident that Ontario has one of the top three agri-food sectors anywhere in North America. It’s because we have a champion as our Minister of Agriculture, and I would put her record in agriculture up with yours or your former colleagues’ any day of the week.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member will withdraw.
Mr. Todd Smith: Withdraw.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): And he’s on the edge.
Carry on, please.
Hon. Brad Duguid: That being said, we understand the concerns being raised in eastern Ontario regarding the Kemptville campus. We understood the concerns being raised as well regarding the Alfred campus, and the member for Glengarry–Prescott–Russell has worked very, very hard to ensure that the Alfred campus remains open. I want to thank him for that on behalf of the francophone students and youth. We’ll continue to work with the members opposite—