QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, welcomed today’s announcement that the government would cover bees under agriculture insurance. The concept was put forward by the Official Opposition as an amendment to the The Agriculture Insurance Act.
Minister Jeff Leal made the announcement today, outlining the new Bee Mortality Insurance Plan.
During discussion of the bill at the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Opposition MPP Jim MacDonell put forward a motion that the definition of agriculture products in Bill 40, The Agriculture Insurance Act be struck out and replaced with “Agricultural products means bees and any other product that is designated by regulation”. The amendment was defeated at the time by the government majority on the committee.
“This announcement is overdue and should have been included as an amendment to the legislation from the beginning,” Barrett said. “It’s unfortunate our amendment, and a similar one to assist the hog industry, were defeated solely for political purposes.”
During debate on the Finance Committee, Barrett and McDonell identified hogs and bees as commodities most in need of help. At the time, the government argued to keep the bill more general.
“This is the difference between us and the Liberals,” Barrett said. “Patrick Brown has said, ‘There is no monopoly on a good idea’. Obviously this was a good idea since the government adopted it, so they should have supported it in the first place.”