Last Sunday I was emcee at the Farm Rally on the Debot farm west of Wallaceburg. The feature speaker at the event was Wayne Easter, former Liberal Solicitor General and present Liberal agricultural critic. Also present were Susan Whelan, former Liberal International Cooperation Minister and Jeff Wesley former Mayor of Wallaceburg and former Chatham-Kent council member.
It was a great rally. About 300 farmers attended which is really big considering we are in the warm weather months. Farmers came from across western Ontario. There was a frank, fresh exchange of opinions between the farmers and opposition politicians. Wayne Easter took many questions. Clearly the Liberals are getting ready for an election and clearly they are wanting votes in rural Canada back which they lost in the last election.
Of course the big topic of discussion at the rally was the Risk Management Plan (RMP) proposed by Ontario farm groups. RMP is still in the proposal phase but it would be solid public policy. It gives farmers the option of managing price risk on their farm. This essentially would help off set the age old problem of low farm incomes. So far the provincial government has resisted embracing RMP. The federal government has re-nigged on its agricultural promises. These rallies will clearly continue until a time when the RMP is seriously considered.
For those of you who read “At Issue” last week there is a postscript. The title of the piece was “HIV/AIDS: Where Is My Friend?” Well guess what, he read the piece without me knowing and called me. Over a long distance phone call from my tractor seat we came to grips with our new reality. He is alive and well still dealing with HIV/AIDS after all these years. He now lives quietly with his partner. It was quite a surprise for me. I was pleased that he phoned. Our relationship now after all these years starts anew.
Check out the Podcast this week. East West is warming up for September. Pass around the web address and feel free to download anything you like.