Loading Search
Travel with Toby @TobyBarrettMPP

Column Archives

Newsroom Archives

Enviro Critic Archives


Constituency Office
39 Norfolk St. N.
Simcoe, ON N3Y 3N6
Phone: (519) 428-0446
Phone: (905) 765-8413
Fax: (519) 428-0835

Queens Park
Rm 206, North Wing
Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1A8
Phone: (416) 325-8404
Fax: (416) 325-8408

Dunnville Outreach Office
Chamber of Commerce
231 Chestnut Street
Dunnville, ON

Couillard/Brown make history

at Queen’s Park

By MPP Toby Barrett

May 13 was somewhat of a historic day in the Ontario Legislature with the address of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard - the first time in 51 years for a Quebec Premier to visit Queen’s Park.

One condition for Couillard to speak was that the Opposition leaders would also be allowed to speak. That opened the door for unelected Patrick Brown, newly-minted PC leader, to enter the chamber and address those assembled.

Brown opened by saying he was proud of the work of former Premier John Robarts, who did so much to build a strong relationship between Ontario and Quebec. Robarts was premier at the time of Jean Lesage - the last Quebec premier to speak to the Legislature. The two premiers forged a bond and a sense of mutual respect between their two jurisdictions.

Delivering a large part of his address in French, Brown described travelling Quebec with former Premier Jean Charest, hearing Charest speak passionately about what it meant to be a Canadian and what it meant for Quebec to be part of Canada. Brown said he will never forget rallies where Charest would hold up his Canadian passport to and say how proud he was to be a Canadian.

Brown complimented Premier Couillard for showing leadership in many areas of importance, including low energy rates contributing to the general economic health of Quebec.

In response to government criticism, Brown said, “If the Liberals feel that a compliment towards a balanced budget and low energy rates is an attack on their record, well maybe then that’s something they need to think about.”

Brown also praised Couillard for making a balanced budget a priority to ensure the long-term financial health of his province. “You realized that to be able to have a prosperous province, you need to have a strong economy,” Brown said. “This thing gives you the ability to invest in projects and people.”

Similar kudos came for Quebec’s energy policy. Brown said both provinces have an abundance of hydroelectric power. Quebec embraced this power and is using it to ensure electricity rates remain low for the people of Quebec.

“Low hydro rates mean a better business climate,” Brown continued, “Companies see these rates as a cost of doing business rather than a barrier to doing business. Families and individuals who don’t have to carry the burden of ever-increasing rates are better able to manage their household budgets, and businesses that want to set up operations in the province don’t have to worry that hydro costs, either for their operations or their employees, will be a huge burden.”

Brown told the House that low electricity rates enable Quebec to adopt a cap-and-trade policy. It also allows Quebec to attract jobs. Brown provided the example of Xstrata Copper moving to Quebec because of its reasonable electricity rates. This is the kind of environment Brown would like to see in Ontario.

Ontario and Quebec have been important partners in the history of our country, dating all the way back to the partnership of Canada West Premier Baldwin and Canada East Premier LaFontaine establishing responsible government. While we haven’t always been on the same page on every issue, there is certainly more to unite us than divide.


Barrett renews push for action on Lyme
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed the push for answers on Lyme disease in front of a Queen’s Park gallery crowded with those afflicted by the disease.
[Read More]


Barrett concerned electricity prices driving out industry
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took the government to task during Question Period for its energy policies that could be scaring business away from the area.
[Read More]


Electricity rates up 14 per cent, May 1
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s electricity rates are skyrocketing again.
[Read More]


No help for agriculture in budget: Barrett
SIMCOE – Farmers shouldn’t look for help from yesterday’s budget, according to Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
[Read More]

Budget misses the mark

QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberal government budget that was just released is not a substantive plan to get Ontario back on a firm economic footing and eliminate the deficit by 2017-18. recruitment team.
[Read More]


Barrett/Hoskins discuss Norfolk doctor shortage
QUEEN'S PARK – Over the years, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has met with the committee trying to build a new health centre in Port Dover, as well as with Norfolk General Hospital’s recruitment team.
[Read More]

Barrett has mixed emotion with Invasive Species Act
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett rose again in the Legislature to speak on the province’s Invasive Species Act.
[Read More]


Liberals increase deficit for third straight year
QUEEN’S PARK – It might have been April Fool’s Day when Opposition Finance Critic Vic Fedeli asked some hard questions of the finance minister about the province’s books, but it was anything but a joke.
[Read More]

Barrett to Ag Minister on neonics: “Why won’t you speak up for farmers?”
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s agriculture minister was short on answers when pressed on the 80 per cent neonic ban on corn and soybean acreage that was recently announced.
[Read More]


Barrett pays tribute to farmers during Farm Safety Week
QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, paid tribute to volunteers in the Norfolk Farm Safety Association in the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday.
[Read More]


Adding livestock to crop insurance is good news: Barrett
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett supports government legislation to allow crop insurance to be expanded to cover livestock.
[Read More]


Despite impressive gains, agricultural literacy remains a struggle
QUEEN’S PARK – “We have to train people not only to be able to walk into a combine and know how to turn a wrench, but they also need to know how to calibrate that computer.”
[Read More]


Sudbury scandal: Premier asked to step aside if charges laid
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has asked Premier Wynne to step aside if charges are laid in connection with the Sudbury by-election scandal.
[Read More]


Moody’s sounds another warning about Ontario finances
QUEEN’S PARK – Another voice has been added to the chorus calling on the Wynne government to change its financial direction.
[Read More]


Barrett calls for re-striking the gas plant committee
QUEEN’S PARK – Re-strike the gas plant committee! That was the call from MPP Toby Barrett, fellow Opposition caucus members and members of the Third Party.
[Read More]


Barrett fears consequences of policy on rural school closings
SIMCOE – In the wake of a new policy that will fast track the process of closing schools, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is asking the government to slow down and reevaluate the process.
[Read More]


Dental benefits for low-income Ontarians needed sooner rather than later
Simcoe – Access to proper dental and oral health care improves lives and reduces costs on our health care system.
[Read More]


Petition: Say no to new gas taxes
SIMCOE – In the wake of news regarding a new carbon tax, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has launched a petition calling on the government to ditch its idea of a new carbon tax or any other kind of gas tax.
[Read More]


Comment period on bee health coming to a close
SIMCOE – Local MPP and Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett is reminding interested parties that the comment period regarding neonicotinoid insecticide is coming to a close January 25th.
[Read More]


Cayuga bridge is about safety

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett advocates the Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Corrections to step in on the native-shutdown of the Cayuga bridge reconstruction..

[Read More}


Barrett praises federal invasive species regulations

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett welcomed the new federal aquatic invasive species regulations.

[Read More}


Auditor General takes government to task on spending, electricity

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s Auditor General confirmed Tuesday what Opposition MPPs have been saying about the province’s electricity pricing.

[Read More}


PC Critics call for a rigorous scientific and consultative approach to neonics

LONDON – This morning, PC Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett and PC Critic for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Lisa Thompson held a news conference outside the Pollinator Health meeting in London.

[Read More}

Will government provide mortality insurance to assist beekeepers?

QUEEN'S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, questioned the Premier today regarding bee mortality insurance, and asked why Ontario has yet to implement a Manitoba style insurance program to help Ontario beekeepers.

[Read More}


Two area companies honoured for ag innovation

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett was beaming with pride when he heard two local companies were amongst those who received the Premier’s Award for Agri-Innovation Excellence.

[Read More}


New production insurance changes needed and must address farmers’ concerns

QUEEN'S PARK– An expansion of production insurance to cover more agricultural commodities is long overdue.

[Read More}


Barrett’s infectious disease bill receives all-party support
QUEEN’S PARK – Legislation designed to better enable Ontario to deal with emerging infectious diseases has passed second reading with all-party support. The bill has been referred to the Legislative Assembly Committee.

[Read More}


Liberals’ unrealistic and unaffordable path continues
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is suggesting Ontario residents strap themselves in order to prepare for the next round of rocketing taxes.

[Read More}


Burning Kiln again chosen by Legislature

QUEEN’S PARK – Dignitaries, politicians and perhaps royalty will be enjoying a glass of Burning Kiln 2013 Strip Room after the Norfolk red wine was chosen as the Ontario Legislature’s official red wine for 2015.

[Read More}

Barrett bill to address infectious diseases

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has introduced a bill that will address infectious diseases such as Lyme, West Nile and Ebola.

[Read More}

When will we see local food in hospitals and schools?

QUEEN'S PARK – Ontario’s Agriculture Minister refuses to answer when the entire Local Food Act will be proclaimed.

[Read More}


Barrett urges people to testify on insurance bill

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett agrees with committee hearings to allow more input on Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 in the wake of second reading debate on the legislation Monday.

[Read More}

Unemployment trend continues
SIMCOE - For 93 consecutive months Ontario’s unemployment has stood higher than the national average.

[Read More}


Who’s looking out for us when it comes to infectious disease?

Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how well Ontario is prepared to deal with emerging infectious disease.

[Read More}