Thursday, June 18, 2009

Washington Bound, Commuters Bronzed, and City Hall Party

Mr. Valeriote Goes to Washington

If you’re anything like me then you were sitting around last week wondering just where the heck our Member of Parliament had gotten away to. The answer was Washington D.C., of course. Valeriote was in the US capital with colleagues on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food to participate in meetings on issues facing the agriculture industry on both sides of the border. He and the other members of the committee met with a number of Congressional leaders including Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

“It is basically a fact-finding mission to review the United States’ new Country of Origin Labelling regulations which require the segregation of Canadian and American livestock and meat,” said Valeriote in a press release.

The crux is that American processors are passing the cost of separating Canadian and American hogs and cattle on to Canadian farmers. The press release cited that Canadian farm families are disappearing at the rate of approximately 3,600 per year and that such additional costs, no matter how small could hasten that rate combined with already high production costs and low prices. “Clearly, such protectionist efforts hamper Canada-U.S. trade relations in the agriculture industry,” said Valeriote.

Among Valeriote’s stops were the National Meat Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Food Marketing Institute. The Guelph MP added that he was keeping in mind what he considered the three “S”s of agriculture and agri-food, Sovereignty, Safety and Security. He also said that he wants to help ensure the viability of agriculture, not just in and around Guelph, but throughout Canada.

“President Barack Obama’s successful visit to Ottawa demonstrates the importance of in-person meetings,” said Valeriote. “They help to create the foundations for a successful working relationship vital to tackling the biggest challenges facing our two countries and the world. “They also underscore a key theme to Mr. Obama's presidency – multilateralism – working together.”

Guelph gets bronze in commuter challenge

In Guelph, 230 participants used carpools, transit, bicycles or their own two feet to travel during Environment Week May 31 to June 6 and compared to other communities of the same size, the city took third place in the National Commuter Challenge. Commuter Challenge participants in Guelph travelled more than 20,000 kilometres using more sustainable transportation methods, and prevented 3,391 kilograms of carbon emissions by choosing not to drive to work that week. Employers that saved the biggest included Compusense Inc. with 186 kg of carbon emissions spared, Neil Consumer Healthcare with 1,045 kg and the City of Guelph with 547 kg of carbon spared from the air.

Party Hard at City Hall

This Saturday marks the official grand opening of the New City Hall at 1 Carden Street. The celebration will include local artists, performers and community groups and everybody coming out will be able to take a tour of the building, enjoy a barbecue lunch and listen to some great music featuring Funky Mamas, the Suzuki String School, the Royal City Ambassadors and The Over Tones. Activities will include Paint the blue boards in front of old City Hall; sidewalk chalk drawing on Carden and a Guelph Photography Guild exhibition called "What makes Guelph, Guelph." For more information log on to

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