The House

The House Road Trip: Day 2

On day two of our road trip, we hear about how infrastructure spending is needed at the municipal level, and where the future of agriculture could go with a little help from the federal government.
Mississaugua Mayor Bonnie Crombie talks infrastructure spending with Chris Hall. (CBC)
This week, we're doing something different on the show. We're leaving the so-called Ottawa bubble and touring parts of southern Ontario to hear what Canadians want to see in the upcoming federal budget. We're also getting our colleagues across the country to do the same. Every day we'll publish a travel log about some of the things we're hearing.

Day 2 12 p.m.

Mississaugua Mayor Bonnie Crombie talks infrastructure spending with Chris Hall. (CBC)

We continued down the highway to Mississaugua. Driving against traffic is one thing, trying to leave to get to downtown Toronto is another.

One woman waiting for the Go Bus said she spends four hours commuting every day. 

"It's the second busiest terminal in all of the GTA," said Mississaugua Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

  She's on the hunt for infrastructure money, but wants to be able to control where the Phase 2 of Ottawa's infrastructure funding goes.

"We want them to give us the money so we can decide based on our priorities," she said. 

Day 2 3p.m.

Evan Fraser talks digital agriculture with Chris Hall. (CBC)

Old MacDonald's farm could become much more innovative if the federal government listens to Evan Fraser, the head of the University of Guelph's Food Institute.

He worked with Dominic Barton, the chair of the expert panel advising Justin Trudeau's government on the development of a long-term economic strategy, on how to capitalize Canada's agricultural and food processing industry.

"With climate change food is expected to be harder to produce. There is a strong likelihood agriculture will rise in importance," he explained from his office at Guelph.

With its abundance of land and freshwater, Canada could become a global leader, he said.

The same technology that's propelled other industries, like robotics and data analytics, are now coming home to farm.

"We have to imagine a tractor driving through a field and the tractor itself senses where it is on the field and plants the right seed at the right time and gives it the right amount of fertilizer. Or a robotic dairy barn that tracks the life and welfare of the cow in real time and tailors the diet that cow receives" said Fraser.

Day 2: 3:30 p.m.

All parts of the coffee pods developed by University of Guelph researchers and the Toronto coffee roaster Club Coffee are compostable. (University of Guelph)

Some of that innovative thinking was found just a short walk across campus at the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre.

They've recently developed a compostable coffee pod made almost entirely from plant materials and reclaimed coffee bean skins.

  And the best part says Amar Mohanty, a premier's research chair in biomaterials and transportation?

"Coffee still tastes the same."