Agriculture Campus Closures Must Be Reversed

March 12, 2014

CORNWALL – MPP Jim McDonell was disappointed to hear the Liberal Government’s announcement of the closure of the agriculture campuses at Kemptville and Alfred. “Just on Monday, Kathleen Wynne told workers, municipal representatives and farmers in St-Albert that the agricultural sector is important for the Province’s future” – said MPP Jim McDonell. “Less than 48 hours later, in her part-time capacity as Minister of Agriculture and Food, she and her Government announced the closure the only agriculture education institutions in Eastern Ontario. How can she expect our agriculture and agri-food sector to continue innovating and expanding across the Province if there are no available courses east of Guelph?”

Premier Kathleen Wynne has combined her duties with those of the Minister of Agriculture and Food since February 2013.

“Kathleen Wynne either knew of the closures when she sang her Government’s praises to agri-food sector representatives in St-Albert on Monday or she has no idea what the department she oversees part-time is up to” – MPP McDonell continued.  “Both scenarios are disheartening. The consequences of having a part-time Minister of Agriculture are becoming clear. She has no grasp of the importance of local agricultural education in Eastern Ontario, and has no interest in a vibrant and sustainable agriculture sector.”

“Local farmers have strong ties to the Alfred and Kemptville campuses, which have provided education in the agricultural field for almost a century.  Five of my brothers attended the Kemptville campus, went on to successful careers in the agriculture,” – recounted MPP McDonell.

“Our region has a vibrant agricultural heritage rooted in striving for excellence. The agricultural sector is the region’s number one industry, and the Kemptville and Alfred campuses have played a major role in its success, providing local education opportunities for aspiring farmers” – MPP McDonell concluded. “This government has wasted billions of dollars on failed programs, such as the cancelled power plants and now we see the results of those expensive mistakes.  Two of our region’s key educational institutions are closing, eliminating more than a hundred good paying jobs. Expecting our next generation of farmers to move to Guelph for their education shows that the Liberals have no understanding of the needs of Eastern Ontario.”