Ontario has been going through a bit of a tomato madness the past few weeks. It all got started when Heinz shut down their Leamington, Ontario plant. The shutdown was part of a manufacturing industry exodus from the province, a trend many argue is in part due to Ontario’s outrageously high electricity costs. Each shut-down factory makes the problem worse, it’s expensive to operate our province’s bloated and inefficient power system. The lost revenue, of course, end up on everyone’s monthly power bill.
In a move that has all the hallmarks of a brilliantly operated public relations campaign, French’s announced that they’d be buying their tomatoes from the farmers in Leamington who lost their main source of income when Heinz shut down their plant. Social media went apeshit and people started sharing memes of “Ontario made ketchup” (manufactured in Ohio, USA). Loblaws supermarket briefly announced they’d stop selling French’s ketchup, they quickly reversed the decision, a leaked memo came out indicating they were trying to prop-up their (higher profit margin) private label President’s Choice brand.
This brings us today, and to a vegetative member of Ontario’s parliament named Michael Colle. Being a man who’s obviously smarter than he looks, Colle decided to piggyback off of the ketchup spin and announce a special designation for Ontario’s tomatoes. Ignoring the fact that he’s adding flames to the fire of what appears to be a cheap corporate PR stunt, Colle’s proposed bill, Tomato Act 2016 demonstrates a special kind of stupid. Demonstrating his background as an economist, and not a botanist, the genius Liberal MPP plans to make tomatoes “the official vegetable of Ontario.”
There are some who claim tomatoes are a “culinary vegetable”, but science and dictionaries have labelled it as a fruit. This is pretty basic information, but to give Mr Colle credit, he’s an economist. He’s also a politician, and after so many years of exposure to cheap legislative PR stunts, he was probably blind to the fact he fell for a ketchup company’s PR stunt.
Or perhaps Colle hates science, loves chefs, and bravely fights for the culinary definition? Could his bill be a PR stunt for Top Chef Canada- science vs culinary science?
Regardless, it’s a great way to distract the people of Ontario from the fact high energy costs are helping to drive factories out of the province though- dontya think?