Water Act Up for Debate

2017_11_30 Water Act_MLA

 

Prince Edward Island’s Water Act was tabled in the provincial legislature on November 23. Debate started the following week. Environmental organizations including the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, of which the National Farmers Union (Region One, District One) is a member, have voiced concerns about some glaring omissions from the act, and are urging Islanders to let their MLAs know there are improvements to be made. Among those improvements:

  • there should be a recognition of Indigenous title and jurisdiction to watersheds,
  • the right to water should be explicitly stated,
  • the fracking ban should be unconditional, and
  • the moratorium for high capacity wells should be contained in the act

NFU Presents to PEI Standing Committee on Communities, Land and the Environment

Regional Director Reg Phelan and District Director Doug Campbell appeared before the committee on November 2. They spoke about the ways in which the spirit and intent of PEI’s Lands Protection Act have been violated. As a result of their presentation, the Committee will ask for three entities  – Cavendish Farms, Vanco and the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute to appear before them to provide more detail on their transactions. You can read the entire presentation here.

Coverage in the Charlottetown Guardian can be found here.

And the CBC-PEI story is here.

Respecting the Spirit and Intent of the Lands Protection Act

Letter to the Editor by Doug Campbell, published in the Charlottetown Guardian

October 23, 2017

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is alarmed by the rate at which farmland is being transferred to large corporate interests. Islanders, especially those in rural communities, know that all around them, land is being transferred generally in non-transparent transactions. What is involved is frequent and widespread under-the radar transfers of large quantities of land to interlocked corporations and to foreign investors. Without much apparent concern on the part of Government, PEI is now a victim of the well-known global land grab.

The PEI Lands Protection Act is the envy of many people in other jurisdictions. However, the NFU has known since the early 80’s that limits on acreage ownership is an important aspect of the Act, if the loopholes regarding these limits were either closed or closely monitored. However from the very beginning the NFU has made a distinction between the letter of the law and its spirit and intent. Premier Angus MacLean, who is the politician credited with proposing the Lands Protection Act was clear that the protection of the land is more than legal ownership. It was understood with the passing of the Act that land protection would require watching over who control land and how they do that. Continue reading

Water, NAFTA and Supply Management

District Director Doug Campbell made the following presentation at a public forum sponsored by the Council of Canadians on October 10. He was part of a panel discussion,  “Boiling Point: Water, NAFTA and Supply Management”, with co-presenters Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians) and Scott Sinclair (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).

Here’s what Doug had to say (you can also download the presentation in pdf here:

Let me express my thanks for the invitation to speak to the Council of Canadians in my capacity as Region One District Director of the National Farmers Union. My presentation will centre on the recent Island focus on water use, our environment, and the NFU’s position presented at initial public consultations on the development of a water act; as well as at the draft public consultations. It is our understanding that the Prince Edward Island water act will be introduced in the Legislative Assembly this fall. Unfortunately as the act is not yet public I cannot address the actual proposed legislation.

Humans, animals, and plants are depended on water for their survival, their growth, and their productivity. Without water there is desolation, death, a barren landscape. Water is life. From the moment of conception humans and animals begin their lifelong relationship with water.

Therefore access to pure water needs to be a basic right for all, not a privilege for the select, or a source of economic power for the few. Canadians have witnessed the cost to so many of our First Nations people who have suffered greatly from inaccessibility to clean fresh water. Both governments and individuals have turned a blind eye to deplorable third world water conditions on reserves. Should we doubt that it could happen further a field? It is commendable that our government is taking steps to place itself in a guardianship role with the goals of ensuring provision of sufficient, safe, and accessible water for domestic purposes; and provide protection to ecosystems, while requiring public reporting and consultation, and basing water allocation using science-based facts.

Access to good water is to know health and prosperity. We only need to look at the parts of the world whose infrastructure has been damaged by recent hurricanes. The headlines read of the desperation for water. The plight of our water is the plight of all of us. It is good to note that the proposed water act of PEI states everyone has a duty to protect water.

However, the draft lacks recognition of water as a human and ecological right. It is the hope of the NFU that this is corrected in the proposed legislation. Such recognition in itself will set the tone of the legislation. Access to good water is the right of all. The source of water cannot become a commodity to be exploited in the market place.

Land, water, and air are a joint package. The NFU’s stance is that the debate on water, land and air cannot be separated. To ignore or mistreat even one is to greatly impact the others. Continue reading

District Director Doug Campbell to Speak on Supply Management, NAFTA – Oct. 10

Boiling Point_Poster_FBThe Council of Canadians PEI Chapter will hold a Public forum on water, NAFTA and supply management on Tuesday, October 10, 7 p.m. at the Rodd Charlottetown, Kent Street, Charlottetown.

Maude Barlow, Honourary Chairprson of the Council of Canadians, author of Boiling Point, her latest book, will speak on government neglect, corporate abuse, and Canada’s water crisis including PEI’s.

Doug Campbell, District Director of PEI National Farmers Union will address water issues facing Prince Edward Island including the new PEI Water Act, drought, climate change, and the moratorium on high capacity deep water wells for agricultural irrigation. Doug will also discuss Supply Management as it relates to trade deals.

Scott Sinclair, trade expert and senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives will give an overview of what’s at stake for Islanders and Canadians in the current NAFTA negotiations.

The Public Forum is free and everyone is welcome. There will be an opportunity for public participation.

Leo Broderick, Chair of the Council of Canadians is urging Islanders to attend. “We are at a critical time on PEI as we face increased pressure from Cavendish Farms and PEI Potato Board to have the moratorium on high capacity deep water wells lifted. Our water is still being contaminated from agricultural pollution. As well, supply management is threatened by trade deals including NAFTA. Islanders need to know the facts and take a stand. This public forum will help.”

Nouhad Mourad, chair of the Council of Canadians’ PEI Chapter will be the moderator and Eliza Knockwood will open the Public Forum.