Gary Goodyear, the minister of state for the federal economic development agency for southern Ontario, came to town Thursday dangling a $200 million carrot while serving up a bitter dose of reality.
“The industrial revolution’s over,” warned Goodyear. “This is the technology revolution. Manufacturing has to accept the fact that for them to remain competitive they have to use the lightest product.
“They have to use the fastest assembly line, they have to use the latest inventory software and all of these new technologies – many of which are developed here in Ontario – have to be purchased.”
Not only do businesses have to recalibrate, municipalities and their economic development corporations need to focus on the new reality.
Posted by Ian:
With no clearly defined picture as to what Canada’s agri-industry should look like in the coming decades, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture is taking a lead role in devising a national food strategy. OFA vice-president Mark Wales, who farms near Copenhagen in east Elgin, is a vocal advocate for a clear, defining agricultural template that can be adopted on a national scale.
City Scope conducted a lengthy interview with Mark on March 9 of this year. What follows is the entire unedited version of the phone interview with Mark in Toronto that delved into a national food strategy, a similar undertaking in the U.K., GM foods and other agri-industry topics on the radar.
City Scope: Mark, define for us what has led up to the push for a national food policy.
Mark Wales: There never has been any clear defining, overarching national or even provincial food strategy in this country. Some municipalities, like Vancouver, have a food strategy and I think Manitoba has a bit of one, but those are mainly focused around very local food. But there is nothing overall to say what should Canadian agriculture look like, whom should we be trying to feed, what should we be trying to produce and who should be doing it and under what standards and so on.
There is a myriad of policies but none of them with any overarching vision or strategy. So, that’s what we’re working on here, both in Ontario at the OFA level, and at the national level through the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Official IGPC plant opening in Aylmer, December, 2008
Construction of the Alymer-based Integrated Grain Processors Co-op Inc. ethanol plant began in mid-2007. The facility has been operational since Oct. 1, 2008. In addition to producing 162 million liters (43 million gallons) of corn-based ethanol annually, the plant also produces approximately 129,600 tons of distillers grains each year.
The plant is owned by a cooperative made up of approximately 900 members. Ownership is nearly evenly split between regional farmers and other representatives of agriculture-related businesses. The facility was capitalized in part by equity investment by the facilities ownership. Additional capitalization was sourced from a consortium of banks and federal and provincial government incentive programs.
In its study, Doyletech found that construction of the plant contributed to a net spending increase within the region of approximately $275 million, was well as an annual increase of at least $50 million in new economic spending in the region as a direct consequence of the plant’s operations.
Ethanol is the gift that keeps on giving – but only to corn-growers and opportunistic automakers. For taxpayers, however, it’s a dream that failed and a rat-hole down which our governments keep pouring our tax money. This useless boondoggle must stop.
Last week, CanWest News Service reported on a government memo that says clearly that Ottawa’s costly effort to promote E85 fuel – industry shorthand for 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent ordinary gasoline – will do no good.
In fact, we believe the whole push for ethanol – produced mainly from corn in Canada – will bring no actual reductions in total greenhouse gas emissions, but will cost taxpayers $2.2 billion in federal subsidies, plus more from provinces, especially Ontario.
Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) said on Friday it has revived plans for a C$120 million ($111 million) expansion of its Sarnia, Ontario, ethanol plant in another sign the chill in energy investments is easing.
Suncor said the project would double output of the renewable fuel additive to 400 million litres (106 million gallons) a year by late 2010 or early 2011.
The company deferred the project at the start of the year as financial and energy markets skidded. It was initially to have been completed by the end of this year.
Construction will create 350 jobs in the Sarnia-Lambton area of southern Ontario.
Ottawa’s push to use high-level ethanol fuel in cars is doing little or nothing to cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions nor will it, says a government briefing note prepared for Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and obtained by Canwest News Service.
Moreover, government officials have warned Raitt that giving automakers credits toward new fuel efficiency standards by making cars that can use environmentally friendly E85 fuel will not actually reduce emissions because those cars will never actually use the ‘green’ fuel and will continue to use regular gasoline.
Ethanol production has increased the availability of corn in Ontario says Tom Cox chair of the Integrated Grain Processors Cooperative, which operates an ethanol plant in Aylmer, Ontario. This, in response to a report from the George Morris Centre entitled Opening the Throttle and Applying the Brakes , which concludes it is the growth in the ethanol sector that is largely responsible for the struggles in the hog industry here in Ontario.