Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Is the Pallister Government about to sacrifice local autonomy in its crusade to have even more factory pig barns? Please read this and decide for yourself!

Below is a letter two members of Hog Watch Manitoba have written to the NDP Opposition. They ask that party to press for postponement of yet another Draconian bill from the ruling Conservatives. The implications of that bill are truly disturbing, as you'll leatn as you read this. PinP
A  factory barn in Manitoba's Interlake. Would you want this near you? Soon, you may not have a choice!
Photo courtesy of Mercy for Animals, Canada.
LETTER
Re: Bill 19 – Please Postpone until 2018 Fall Session
Dear Rob Altemeyer,
Thank you for meeting with Glen Koroluk and me on April 10, 2018 regarding Bill 19, The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning). We are requesting in the strongest terms possible that the New Democratic Party Caucus select Bill 19 as one of the Bills to be postponed for consideration by the Legislature until the 2018 fall session.  We ask that you bring our request forward to the Caucus on our behalf.
As a former rural municipal councilor and rural person who has worked with environmentalist and Beyond Factory Farming activist Glen Koroluk and hundreds of rural and urban people for the past two decades on trying to protect people, the environment and Lake Winnipeg from the social, economic and environmental problems associated with the industrialization and expansion of the hog industry, the prospect of Bill 19 becoming law is appalling.  If Bill 19 passes, a rural resident farmer or resident could wake up one morning to find an industrial livestock operation being constructed next door and there will be nothing they can say or do to protect their families, property rights, the environment and water.
Bill 19 removes the Province’s mandatory conditional use requirement for livestock operations of a size greater than 300 Animal Units.  With this new “freedom,” if municipal jurisdictions choose to opt out of requiring conditional use approval for livestock operations of all sizes, the processes that currently allow the public to participate and object to such “developments” will be eliminated.  There will no longer be  public hearings.  There will no longer be a trigger for Provincial Technical Reviews to be conducted and open for scrutiny by the public. The hog industry will no longer be subject to any public accountability. 

Municipal jurisdictions have limited tools to provide some level of protection to the residents and the environment.  These tools can, and most likely will, be taken away from those who choose to retain conditional use approval of hog operations by the appeal process proposed in the Bill.  Even if a municipal jurisdiction were to deny an application for conditional use approval, industry can appeal to the provincially appointed Municipal Board who will be given the authority to reverse a denial of a conditional use permit, or alter or eliminate conditions and development agreements imposed by the municipal jurisdiction.  Attempts to require manure storage covers, shelterbelts (to mitigate extremely offensive and health compromising odours and noxious discharges such as hydrogen sulfide), payment for drainage, road construction or maintenance for example, in order to serve the interests of the municipality and ratepayers could be vacated.  Incredibly, the public, rural residents, non-industrial farmers and taxpayers will not be able to appeal a decision favourable to the livestock industry issued by the municipal authority.

If this were not enough, Bill 19 will remove section 1.1 of The Planning Act.  This change will undermine the ability of municipal jurisdictions who choose to retain the conditional process to control new and expanding pig operations within their area.  This change will allow the livestock industry (and, in particular operations that utilize liquid manure storage systems -- almost exclusive to the industrial method of producing pigs), to restore industry’s ability to establish and expand under the regulatory and approval radar.  This provision in The Planning Act put in place by the previous government has proved to be an important protection against industry evasion of public participation, technical reviews and conditional use approval.

Further, there will be no way for the public and municipal jurisdictions to know if the provincial bureaucracy is properly regulating the hog industry. This regulatory process will be completely secret.  The public has been given ritualistic assurances that livestock operations will still have to secure permits to build manure storages and will have to register manure management plans each year.  However, public access to all of this information has already been restricted as proprietorial business information by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  So, how will anyone know if the recently amended regulations have been enforced and the rural agricultural environment will not be overloaded with polluting surface and groundwater nutrients?  Municipal authorities cannot access this information or regulate operations without conditional use authority.

Bill 19 will require all Planning Districts and municipalities to review the conditional use provisions of their Zoning By-Laws within a year.  The current right of the public to participate in and object to Zoning By-Law changes will be redefined, and, in part, removed.  Permanent residents and resident taxpayers who are ineligible to be elected to a municipal council will be disenfranchised from their existing rights to participate in decision-making processes that may negatively impact their use and enjoyment of their property, property values, livelihoods, smaller farming operations, children’s health and efforts to protect the land and water.  Further, 25 eligible objectors will now be required to initiate an appeal of  Zoning By-law changes by the Municipal Board.  The legitimacy of an objection(s) does not change due to the number of people making it.  By analogy, a singular individual has the right to apply to the Court for relief.

The hog industry desires this change so that local people will not be able to object to their local municipal representatives removing the conditional use requirement from their Zoning By-Laws and leaving the public, ratepayers and the environment defenseless.

Bill 19 is not about red-tape reduction and modernizing laws as they relate to intensive livestock operations.  It’s about reducing costs and impediments to the government and industry’s desired industry expansion plans for the sole purpose of increasing the supply of finished hogs for the Maple Leaf and Hy-Life Foods processing plants to service their export markets and improve their profit margins at the expense of rural people and the environment and water quality.

The MPC’s own statistics show that producers of finishing hogs lost money in 8 of the last 9 years ending in 2017 while Maple Leaf’s reports showed a tripling of the company’s profits from 2016 to 2017.  Expansion of the hog industry makes little sense from the perspective of the finisher producer.  Absent from these expansion plans is the reality of the empty barns. Why, if the business of raising hogs is so profitable operations are not re-opening and re-entering the business.

In closing, Bill 19 is a bad Bill.  We ask that you begin the process of stopping this Bill by exercising your prerogative to postpone debate on it until the fall session.

                                                                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                                                                Ruth Pryzner and Glen Koroluk

Who is Hog Watch Manitoba?

Hog Watch Manitoba is a non-profit organization, a coalition of environmentalists, farmers, friends of animals, social justice advocates, trade unions and scientists. We are promoting a hog industry in Manitoba that is ethically, environmentally and economically sustainable.

1 comment:

PinP said...

The Premier of Manitoba, Brian Pallister, and Donald Trump have a lot in common. They both believe the only good regulation is "no regulation." They fail to see how governments can possibly enforce rules and regulations that truly serve the people. And their only purpose is to serve rich and powerful friends who lack conscience or responsibility. How Trumpian of you, Brian!