Increased access to natural gas is another “hot” election issue
A promise for increased access to natural gas as an alternative heating source could be one way to secure the “farm vote” in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell in the June provincial election this year.
Réjean Pommainville, district 14 regional director for the Ontario Farmers Association (OFA), confirmed during a phone interview February 12 that natural gas would be a big benefit to the economic survival of farming for the region and for all of Ontario.
“We (OFA) have been pushing for that for quite a few years,” Pommainville said. “We believe that if farmers had access to natural gas, they’d be able to compensate for other (operating) expenses.”
Currently many farm operations in the GPR and other rural ridings in Ontario are limited to either electricity or heating oil to keep barns, coops, and other outbuildings warm for livestock during the winter season. The price for either heating source has continued to rise despite either government regulation efforts or changes in world supply sources.
Pommainville noted that Alberta’s agriculture sector has almost 100 per cent access to natural gas as part of the energy heating options for farm operations. In Ontario, he said, maybe 20 per cent of the province’s farming community has natural gas access as a possible cheaper heating option. “That would make a big difference to all Ontario farmers if they could have natural gas,” he said.
Pommainville added that natural gas access could prove a factor that helps guarantee the survival of Ontario’s farming sector. “If a rural area is prosperous,” he said, “the whole province will be prosperous.”
Grant Crack, the incumbent Liberal MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, agreed dur- ing a recent interview that natural gas access is one of the important local economic development issues for the riding. He noted that the Wynne Liberal government has made a commitment to increase natural gas access for Eastern Ontario and other rural regions.
“The (energy) ministry is well aware that in East Hawkesbury, they would enjoy having natural gas,” Crack said. “There are discussions underway with Enbridge (Natural Gas) for a practical business case. But there also has to be some (profitable) return to Enbridge, and that our own investments are also protected.’
We also tried to reach Amanda Simard, Progressive Conservative candidate for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, for her perspective on this issue. Unfortunately, we had not heard back from her by press time.
Les agriculteurs aimeraient avoir accès au gaz naturel comme solution de rechange à l’électricité ou au mazout pour chauffer leurs granges, leurs poulaillers et autres dépendances. L’accès au gaz naturel pour les agriculteurs pourrait être un enjeu...