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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Farmers Praise Budget

Regional | by Kevin Bernard  

Pork and Cattle producers hail risk management program, MPP proclaims great budget.

Leaders of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association and Ontario Pork have applauded the Ontario government decision to set-up a new risk management program that will give farmers insurance to protect against market fluctuations beyond their control.

Ontario Cattlemen's Association President Curtis Royal says the announcement in Tuesday's budget will establish a permanent risk management insurance program that will give farmers the tools they need to sustain their operations.

Chair of Ontario Pork and a farmer in Bruce County Wilma Jeffray says the fact that the McGuinty government decided to act during these tough fiscal times and without the participation of the federal government, makes this announcement that much more significant to Ontario farmers.

Ontario’s beef and pork farmers have made the establishment of the RMP insurance program their top priority and launched an unprecedented campaign to ensure MPP's understood how important this program was to the future success of their industry.

Ontario Agriculture minister and Huron Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell says it is a great day to be Ag Minister.

She says it is the biggest announcement affecting farmers in 25 years.

Mitchell believes cattle, hog, sheep and veal producers will also benefit from measures included in the document.

The budget's largest allocations go to health care.

Cash-strapped hospitals will be able to access up to 800-million dollars over three years to wipe out their deficits.

The province plans to provide 100-million dollars a year to improve pharmacy services to people covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan.

A new program announced Tuesday calls for 15-million dollars in spending over three years to expand breast screening for women as young as 30.

Mitchell says the overall budget is the right document for the times.

She points out that Ontario continues to recover from the recession and that education and health care are issues that must continue to be addressed.

Among the highlights of the document is a pledge to spend over 300-million dollars to create more than 60-thousand new spaces in universities and community colleges across the province by the 2015-16 school year.

The Progressive Conservatives say the document contains little for Ontario families who have been struggling to make ends meet and is intended to get the McGuinty government re-elected.



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