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.

Region One Annual Convention

The Region One annual convention was held on August 7 in Milton, Prince Edward Island. NFU members from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island enjoyed a full day of presentations and discussion – and a tasty meal provided by the team at the Milton Community Hall.

Ayla Fenton, National Youth Director, provided an overview of new farmers in Canada. There were reports from Regional Director, Reg Phelan, Youth Director, Philippe Gervais and Women’s Director, Shannon Jones.

Supply Management and the North American Free Trade Agreement (and its upcoming renegotiation) was the subject of a panel discussion, with Rosalind Waters of the PEI Trade Justice Network, Doug Thompson, Dairy Farmers of PEI, and Everett Baker representing labour/consumers. Chris and Mary Mermuys presented some detailed information about recent land acquisitions by off-Island investors. And Jean-Eudes Chiasson and Ayla Fenton gave a report on the recent meeting of La Via Campesina in the Basque Region of Spain.

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Ayla Fenton, National Youth Director

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Rosalind Waters of the PEI Trade Justice Network

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Jean-Eudes Chiasson and Ayla Fenton

Regional Convention – August 7

AylaThe Region One annual convention will take place on Monday, August 7th at Milton Community Hall in Miltonvale Park. With guest speaker, Ayla Fenton. Ayla will also participate in a youth retreat on the weekend prior to the convention.

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Milton Community Hall and the meeting is expected to conclude at approximately 4:00 p.m.  The registration fee of $20 per person includes the noon meal. For information about the convention, including childcare, call Reg Phelan at 902-961-2428.  Both PEI Agriculture Minister Hon. Alan McIsaac and Federal Agriculture Minister Hon. Lawrence MacAulay have been invited to address the gathering.

 

Holding Ponds & Protecting PEI Water

Guest Opinion by Edith Ling,

Women’s District Director of the National Farmers Union

May 17, 2017

The general public needs to be very concerned about the construction of holding ponds used to hold water for agricultural irrigation purposes. It appears to me that these holding ponds are a way around the 2002 moratorium placed on the drilling of high capacity wells in this province.

At a meeting with Department of Environment officials on March 29, 2017 to review the draft Water Act, the question was asked about how these ponds were going to be filled. The answer given on that day was that there would be one well (low capacity) allowed per pond. That seemed to be a reasonable answer.

The same question was asked of the Dept. of Environment official at the public meeting to consider the draft Water Act in Charlottetown on April 10, 2017. The information given at that meeting was there would be one well allowed per property identification number (PID) per pond.

This is a substantial difference. Many farmers have a number of parcels of land, each with a different identification number and we know water can be piped for great distances. It is easy to see that the plan is to use several wells to fill these holding ponds.
In a telephone call to the same Department of Environment official, Jim Young, a day or so later, he was asked why the change had been made. He replied that there were no changes made. When he was questioned as to why he had not mentioned the property identification number involvement at the March 29, 2017 meeting, his response was “You did not ask.”

This is a totally unacceptable answer from a public servant. It would appear that not all the information was shared at the March 29 meeting or indeed a change has been made.
It is difficult to understand what the difference would be between one high capacity well filling a pond or several low capacity wells doing the same job.

Either way, hundreds of thousands of gallons of precious water are being extracted.

Even more interesting is the fact that the highest pumping capacity for a low capacity well is 50 igpm (imperial gallons per minute) while the lowest pumping capacity for a high capacity well is just over 50 igpm. Both wells will require permits.

I realize that the matter of these holding ponds will be dealt with in the Regulations under the Water Act. Regulations can be changed by the stroke of a pen at any meeting of the cabinet.

The general public needs to be vigilant about this matter and ensure that these holding ponds are not an innovative way to circumvent the moratorium on high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation. We need to make sure that our water supply is protected and preserved for this and future generations.

2016 Census of Agriculture Released

“Farm operators are slightly older and there are fewer farms in Canada than in 2011, but farms are on average larger and more area is devoted to crop production according to the results from the 2016 Census of Agriculture.

Over the next six weeks, articles digging deeper into different aspects of Canadian agriculture will be published with further analysis of census results.

The number of farm operators declined from 2011 while the average age continued to rise. However, the proportion of operators under 35 years of age edged up for the first time since 1991. Despite the increase in the average age, only 1 in 12 operations reported having a formal succession plan laying out how the operation will be transferred to the next generation of farmers.”

Read more here.