Tony McQuail – agriculture

I was born in 1952 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was active in the boy scouts and enjoyed camping trips and hikes.

Tony McQuail then

Tony McQuail then

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King I was involved in helping organize and run an interracial coffee house for teenagers. When I was 16 I started doing draft counseling on Sunday afternoons in our Quaker Meeting House. During that process I came to see the US Selective Service as a coercive and unjust system which allowed the US leadership and Military to engage in foreign wars that did not have public support.

In March of 1970 on my 18th Birthday I wrote a letter to the US Attorney General explaining my reasons for refusing to register for the draft. I got a job as a hired hand on a Pennsylvania dairy farm and discovered that I really liked farming. It was during this time that I came to the conclusion to emigrate to Canada. I realized that after getting out of prison as a war resister I would have to be a tax resister if I continued to live in the US. I wanted to do something that felt positive and continual opposition in an unresponsive society did not feel that positive to me. I was also anxious about going to prison – the US prison authorities were routinely allowing war resisters to be sexually abused by other inmates as an additional disincentive for refusal to cooperate with the US war machine.

I came to the Goderich area in 1971 when I got a job as a hired hand on a dairy farm. I graduated from grade 13 in 1972. I bought our farm in 1973 and began working it while attending University. I completed an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree at the University of Waterloo in 1976. I have spent my lifetime working on ecological agriculture, renewable energy, peace and social justice. I’ve been married for 32 years to Fran and we have two daughters.

I have served as:

* President, Huron County Federation of Agriculture, 1982-1984
* President, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, 1993-1996
* President, National Farmers Union – Huron Local, 2007,
secretary 2004 -2007
* Trustee, Huron County Board of Education, 1982-1991
* Executive Assistant to Elmer Buchanan, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 1990-1992
* Chair of Foodland Hydro Committee, 1982-1986
* NDP Candidate in the 1980, 1988, 1993 Federal Elections
and 1981 and 1999 Provincial Elections.