Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday December 16, 2017
Exclusively rural Flamborough ward is coming apart
Farmers may feed cities but based on the Ontario Municipal Board’s ward boundary ruling it looks like cities politically devour farmers.
The most lamentable change in the board’s redrawing of Hamilton’s electoral map is the elimination of the current Ward 14 in west Flamborough, effectively shutting down the one voice around the city council horseshoe which speaks exclusively for rural residents.
Under the plan, the ward will be wiped out and partitioned between Ancaster and Dundas, reshaping the unique agricultural community into a mixed urban-rural precinct. In its stead a new ward will sprout on the Mountain.
Ward 14 comprises more than one-third of Hamilton’s total land mass and accounts for a big portion of the $1 billion plus economic activity which agriculture annually contributes to Hamilton’s economy.
For the past 11 years Coun. Robert Pasuta, a farmer himself, has been the voice of that community, which since amalgamation has become part of the flavour and fabric of the city.
Pasuta’s updates to council on the state of asparagus, corn, and soybean crops are a quirky but restorative reminder of how singularly blessed Hamilton is, how just a short distance from the choking traffic and concrete of the big city the elemental forces of nature still call the tune that people’s lives and livelihoods dance to.
The weather and soil will remain if the board decision stands. An independent political voice for farmers will not.
Word of the board decision knocked the wind out of Pasuta. He’s got his legs back under him now. If legal grounds permit, he firmly supports appealing the ruling. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)