Part of the Solution? Or part of the Problem? The Government of Manitoba fails in its sacred duty to protect our precious waterways

 by John Fefchak - PinP guest-writer.

Lake Winnipeg, clogged with toxic algae. Nutrients from human and animal waste (including large commercial hog operations) pollute the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world.

More than twenty years ago, I, along with many others, became aware of how Lake Winnipeg and other Manitoba waters were becoming polluted. Our government was ignoring the dire situation; and pressing on with the expansion of Intensive livestock (hog) Operations (ILO's).  Our concerns over the massive amounts of manure being created, were ignored. Despite evidence being presented in the media, including a major TV documentary, "Choking Lake Winnipeg," we were called fear-mongers. 

Still, we didn't give up.

Eventually, there was a glimmer of hope. In 2007, Manitoba's Clean Environment Commission released a ground-breaking report, recognizing a problem with the environmental sustainability of hog production.  

The Lake Winnipeg Act was established and stringent regulations were enacted. Progress to help save Lake Winnipeg seemed achievable. The potential was inspiring.

However, over time, governments change. And the positive steps taken then became a "hindrance." So they were trashed. "The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act" was introduced - a process to allow the wheels to be "greased," so that many more factory hog barns could be built. (And they are.)

A decades-old map showing hog-barn locations in Manitoba. How many are enough?

So often we hear the outcry for economic development and associated employment, but there are no concerns expressed for environment and our water sources.  

Overwhelming scientific evidence proves our present economic system is rapidly destroying our planet's ability to sustain life. 

Yet, too many of our politicians turn away from science to favour of the same systems of development that have brought us to the brink of this cataclysmic situation. If we forge ahead in total selective ignorance, then we're guilty in the destruction of Earth's life-sustaining gifts. 

For without water,....there is no economy.....without water...there is nothing!

So, as I re-watch the ten-year-old documentary, I have concluded that the waters of Lake Winnipeg are more polluted than before, and one of the main reasons, is government who, instead of being part of the solution, has sadly become a huge part of the problem. 



Brent Bjorklund said…
What are we thinking with all the hogs! Our lakes and rivers are dying, our rural landscape is becoming a stinky unpopulated moonscape of giant hog factories and manure lagoons. The industry is doomed by corporate consolidation, foreign ownership, absurd scale requirements, meat substitutes, pandemics and animal rights. Authentic farmers can’t survive, we get the manure! We even sent 40% in weanlings to the US so they pollute our rivers flowing back. We have no idea what the emissions are with soil injection and charge no carbon tax. We reduce regulations and suppress research. We give them the legal immunity of a farmer and taxpayer subsidies in the millions. MB Pork is all propaganda and outright lies. The actual jobs and benefits are exaggerated several fold. Eg: of the 600 “Farmers” the vast majority do hogs as a small side business but are said to depend on it! And we have to bring in workers for the meat processing side for obvious reasons. They buy off our politicians and lobby against environmental and labour regulations. The antibiotics go into our water. It’s all bad public policy. Someday soon we will use the same money to support a sustainable, ethical and resilient agriculture with many more green jobs and basic income, quality food and restored rural communities.

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