Wilson Introduces Legislation to Recognize Rural Industry
(April 7th, 2014) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson introduced new legislation, Bill 185, Christmas Tree Day Act, 2014. If passed, the bill will designate the first Saturday in December of each year as Christmas Tree Day in Ontario.
“I want to thank Mr. Fred Somerville, president of the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario, for the inspiration behind this bill,” said Wilson.
“This legislation is not only in line with other jurisdictions, including the United States, which has deemed the entire first week of December as “National Christmas Tree Week”, but it also recognizes an industry that brings tremendous gain to our province,” he continued.
In a letter to his colleagues earlier this year, Wilson explained how the Christmas tree industry employs thousands of workers in farming, transportation and retail sectors producing more than one million fresh, farm-grown Christmas trees to be purchased each year with the same number of seedlings planted in annual harvests. He also explained that the industry has vast environmental benefits including the removal of 13 tons of airborne pollutants per acre per year, as well as creating a protective haven for a variety of bird and mammal species.
“This legislation is in recognition of a primarily rural industry, an industry that every Ontarian can appreciate and benefit from,” said Wilson. “There are 674 Christmas Tree Farms in Ontario. Recognition of the industry is long overdue.”
Fred Somerville, president of the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario, said that he is often asked if real or artificial trees are better for the environment. He is quick to point out that, “real trees produce oxygen, sink carbon, are renewable, recyclable and 100% biodegradable.”
Wilson was pleased to bring forward the legislation on behalf of his constituents and all those who work in the Christmas tree industry. He looks forward to further debate when the legislation is called for Second Reading.