Glen Murray resigned his post as Ontario’s minister of the environment and climate change on July 31, leaving his successor to implement the transition to a low-carbon economy through the cap-and-trade program. The provincial Liberals have appointed Chris Ballard to the post, with the view that he can stickhandle the sensitive environment file until the June 2018 election. He leaves the ministry of housing for the challenging portfolio that includes everything from energy to water.
Ballard’s career started in journalism, writing for the Newmarket Era, the Aurora Banner, the Orillia Packet and Times, Canadian Press and the Toronto Star. He operated his own business consultancy firm in the public affairs arena and is a former president of the Public Affairs Association of Canada.
He has represented Newmarket-Aurora, a highly urbanized riding in the Greater Toronto Area since 2014. However, in the riding to the north is the Holland Marsh where he has participated in many agricultural events. He has attended the Premier’s Agri-Food Excellence Awards and the popular International Plowing Match. These brushes with agriculture may not make him a friend to agriculture, but more friendly in approach.
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) has no immediate plans to meet with Hon. Chris Ballard. But when that opportunity comes, the conversation would be about phosphorus.
“We would ask him for continuing support on the Grow Ontario Together initiative which is to find practical solutions to minimizing phosphorus in our water courses,” says Jan VanderHout, OFVGA chair. “We want to involve everyone from government to the grassroots to find practical and attainable solutions.”