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Ontario politicians head to International Plowing Match rural expo

BOWLING GREEN, ONTARIO — Ontario politicians of all stripes, including Premier Doug Ford, are set to make an annual trek to the International Plowing Match today.

The expo — held this year in Bowling Green, Ont., north of Guelph — is a celebration of agriculture and rural living, and provides politicians with an opportunity to woo those communities.

Ford is set to make remarks at the plowing match’s opening ceremonies today and participate in a “VIP plow,” in which leaders of Ontario’s political parties compete using tractors to see who can most successfully plow a straight furrow.

The legislature usually shuts down for the day so that politicians can attend, but this year the return from the summer break was pushed back to next week to accommodate the plowing match schedule.

The gathering comes at a time when Ford is under fire for opening parcels of the protected Greenbelt lands for housing development, a plan that some farming groups have publicly opposed.

Ford received a smattering of jeers from attendees of the 2019 plowing match, and former premier Kathleen Wynne was booed there in 2016 over rising hydro bills.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2023.

The Canadian Press