Green Party candidate speaks at Federation of Agriculture meeting

Kotze delivers passionate defence of farming, environment at Lanark Federation of Agriculture sponsored all-candidates meeting September 19th

Approved by the Official Agent of Stephen Kotze

A farm is sustainable if farmers can afford to stay on the farm and keep farming, Stephen Kotze told the Lanark Federation of Agriculture (LFA) sponsored all-candidates meeting in Perth Thursday evening. Too many farmers have to have outside jobs in order to survive and we need to return to a situation where farmers can make a living, he said, noting that as an accountant he does taxes for many farmers and knows this first hand. And capital costs make it difficult for young farmers to make money doing what they love, he told the audience of about 200 people. The Green party would set up a fund to help young people get into farming and this would reap many benefits: supporting local farmers leads to local food security and lessens the environmental costs of food being shipped over vast distances when it is grown and can be distributed locally. Stephen, who noted how much he had been canvassing and listening to residents,  stressed that if elected he would be working for the community and acting on people’s true concerns. He advised audience members to took at the Green Party’s full range of policies. “If you study our platform, you will be able to relate to what we are doing.”  He decried the tendency of political parties to use attack ads. “I have a frustration with the way that politics is happening,” he said, suggesting audience members likely feel the same, given the way that political parties and MPs attack each other at the expense of addressing pressing issues. Candidates (Kaylee Kennedy for the Liberals, Scott Reid for the Conservatives and Satinka Schilling for the NDP) were asked what they do as individuals for the environment. While all of them listed activities like walking and biking instead of driving, only Stephen noted that “we can do a lot as individuals but we need the support from all government to take a leadership role.”  The LFA required that questions for candidates be written out. No questions were taken from the floor, and the moderator admonished audience members, who occasionally clapped in response to answers, to save their applause until the end of the two-hour meeting.

Charles Dobie photo
Charles Dobie photo