Earlier this afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the first significant cabinet shuffle in the past two years. Of particular importance to Ontario agriculture is the departure of Ernie Hardeman from the role of minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. Lisa Thompson, former minister of consumer and government services, will replace him in the role.
Hardeman has been the member of provincial parliament (MPP) for Oxford County since 1995, making him the longest-serving MPP in Oxford’s history. He was appointed as minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs in June 2018, having held the position previously from 1999 to 2001.
In a press release sent out shortly after the announcement, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture stated its recognition of Hardeman as a champion of the industry and our rural communities, calling him a true advocate for agriculture and rural Ontario who understood the importance of the ag sector to the entire province.
“We engaged regularly with Minister Hardman over the past few years and wholeheartedly appreciate his passion for agriculture and his desire to see our dynamic industry grow, innovate and move forward,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA president, in the release. “We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours and appreciated our time working together for the betterment of Ontario agriculture.”
Thompson is the MPP for Huron-Bruce, elected in 2011 and holding the position for the past 10 years. She was born and raised in Huron County but now calls Bruce County home, living on a farm that has been in her husband’s family for 120 years. Thompson is a graduate of the University of Guelph and an alumnus of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. She has also served as the general manager of the Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative, an Ontario 4-H Foundation board chair, and vice-chair of Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc.
The OFA worked closely with Thompson last year while serving in her previous role as minister of government and consumer services. Thompson was a key partner in addressing OFA’s concerns with the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) and the potential negative impacts on our democratic structure.
“Minister Thompson has a valuable understanding of farm and rural issues and has a direct connection to those communities,” Brekveld said. “We look forward to working alongside her to grow the industry and continue to focus on the priorities and opportunities that will stimulate economic growth for all Ontarians.”
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