POLITICS

PC MPPs call for action on drought at news conference

07/31/2012 07:02 EDT | Updated 09/30/2012 05:12 EDT
Ottawa Valley farmers met with Progressive Conservative MPPs at a news conference Monday to discuss the effects of this summer's drought.

Wyatt McWilliams has worked his farm near Carlsbad Springs for more than 40 years. He said he's never experienced a drought quite like this.

"On the whole, a lot of guys are saying that this is serious, but if we got rain it might not be as bad. But if you come back in two weeks and we haven't got that couple of good rains that we really need, then I'd say it's a disaster now but it's a write-off then," McWilliams said.

McWilliams said he generally doesn't believe in handouts, but in disaster situations, the government "should be there for us."

Liberal announcement expected Tuesday

So far the provincial Liberal government has declared a disaster for some farmers, such as apple farmers, which begins a process for negotiating a relief package with the federal government.

No such declaration has been made for other drought-struck farmers.

Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod organized Monday's news conference at McWilliams's farm a day before the Liberal government's planned news conferences on the issue.

"I'm ashamed that eastern Ontario Liberal MPPs have not took up the fight," MacLeod said Monday.

The province's agriculture minister, Ted McMeekin, is scheduled to visit farms in Cobden and North Gower on Tuesday.