Land Transactions: Government must exercise its people-given authority

By Douglas Campbell
District Director of the National Farmers Union

The National Farmers Union (NFU), like many other Islanders is still in shock after seeing the Irving family name on yet another land transfer. Rebecca Irving, the young daughter of Mary Jean Irving was able to put more PEI land under the Irving name. No one would dare suggest that Ms Irving’s newly crafted corporation, Red Fox Acres, is connected to Irving corporate empire.

In PEI, people have become accustomed to silence about how the Irving family has gained such wide ranging control. Some people are even afraid to speak out. That is understandable. However what is not understandable and very disheartening to watch is the apparent powerlessness of the PEI Government to exercise its authority in the face of corporate power.

The NFU has emphasized the need to place emphasis on enforcing the “protection” aspect of the Lands Protection Act, i.e, its spirit & intent. The loopholes in the Act have served the interests of the Irvings and others in the corporate sector. We have also warned about the lack of transparency in the MacLauchlan government’s Business Corporation Act. This act received unanimous support from all MLAs in June, 2018).

It is significant that when the Irving corporations, in their varied combinations, were no longer allowed to use the Lands Protection Act loophole, they found an open door in some provisions of the Business Corporation Act. The 2,200 acres to which they wanted titled ownership suddenly became the property of a newly formed corporation. Then an Irving family member, under the Business Corporation Act, was able to buy this new corporation and its assets aka, the 2,200 acres. All legal, they say.

Governments of the past did not display a simple deficiency of political will to protect the resources and life sources of PEI. Rather what they have displayed is a distorted political will to openly serve the interests of corporations. Do they think that the people do not see this? It is common to hear people say that it is corporations which run PEI, not government.

It is our belief any government which lurks behind the veil of powerlessness is unworthy to govern. This is an opportunity for a new government to take a different path to protect the Island, its land/water and its people. Our message to the current PEI Government is that you have the authority to make legislation. Now use it. You have the authority to replace any legislation or articles of legislation to protect the interests of Islanders. Now do it. You have the authority to declare null and void the latest Irving acquisition (and maybe some former ones). Now do it.

The NFU would like to see the Honourable Bloyce Thompson take a stronger stand against the latest Irving acquisition. He is not only minister responsible for agriculture and lands but also as Attorney General is the overseer of all legislation. Minister Thompson must be seen to take control of the situation. The same goes for Premier King, who in the fever of the election campaign vowed to make open and transparent the workings of the Business Corporation Act and its Regulations. Open and transparent government was his pledge to Island voters. We are still waiting to see the openness and transparency.

Building a Just and Sustainable Future

Climate Change, Indigenous Rights and Trade Justice

Public talk by Clayton Thomas-Müller

Wednesday, September 18, 7 pm at the PEI Farm Centre

Trade Justice PEI is pleased to announce that Clayton Thomas-Müller will be in Charlottetown on Wednesday, September 18 for a public speaking event, starting at 7 pm at the PEI Farm Centre. This event is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. Clayton’s talk is part of “Building a Just a Sustainable Future”, a series of events taking place on September 17th and 18th at UPEI and at the Farm Centre.

Clayton Thomas-Müller is a campaigner for indigenous rights and environmental and economic justice. He is based in Winnipeg, Canada, and is a member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, also known as Pukatawagan, in Northern Manitoba. He is a senior campaign specialist with 350.org, an international movement working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.

Clayton has been involved in many initiatives to build an inclusive global movement for energy and climate justice. He serves on the board of environmental organisations such as the Bioneers; Black Mesa Water Coalition; Indigenous Climate Action and the Wildfire Project. He has campaigned across Canada and the US supporting indigenous peoples to defend their territories against the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry, with a special focus stopping the expansion of the Canadian tar sands and its associated pipelines.

Trade Justice PEI, the host of the event, is a coalition of 20 groups, including the National Farmers’ Union, and individuals who are concerned about Canada’s current international trade agenda and who believe that it’s time for trade that is more democratic and environmentally sustainable, more supportive of a transition to a carbon neutral economy in which workers receive their fair share of the benefits, and more respectful of the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

For more information, find Trade Justice PEI on facebook and Instagram @tradejusticepei, or email tradejusticepei@gmail.com.

Hamilton Heritage Day 2019

Saturday September 14th 10:00 A.M.—3:00 P.M.

Rain date Sunday September 15th same hours as above

Location:  Civic Address 2509 and 2556 Hamilton Road (Route 104)

Vintage Tractor & Equipment Display

10 A.M. – All day Tractor Plowing Clinic / Demonstration

12 P.M. – Slow Tractor Race (30 minutes) –Register on show day

1:00P.M.-3:00 P.M.- Walking tours and artifact description

Horse Section demonstrations (all day)

10 A.M. – 3P.M.

Horse tillage and ploughing demonstration

Threshing Demonstration

10 A.M. – 3P.M.

Massey Harris 5’ Binder and sheaves on display

Hall 4CA thresher operation on demand

Canteen sponsored by Kensington Area Guides and Scouts

Antique Engine Section, Mini Car and Truck Show

Continuous display & demonstrations available

All entries welcome show day (Run what you brung!)

Blacksmith Demonstration

All day- on demand activity on the forge and blacksmithing

Haying Demonstrations

11 AM –3 PM – Hay Loader, Dump Rake, Vintage Hay Tedder and more

Cream Separator demonstration

Alton & Rowena Ramsay and friends – Check with James Carruthers   on show day for further details

Vintage Saw, Shingle Mill & Wood Processing Demonstration

11:00 A.M – 2:00 P.M.

James Carruthers farm – Look for event location on sign show day

Farmer Assistance Program

The Farmer Assistance Program is a service that provides confidential, professional counselling services to farmers, farm employees and their families.  You can get help with a wide range of problems that can affect your personal well-being and work performance.  These problems include work or family pressures,  depression, bereavement, elder care concerns, financial concerns, job stress, alcohol or drug dependency, marital problems, children’s issues, etc.

This is a strictly confidential service provided by counsellors who have a wide range of experience in dealing with such issues. Bilingual counselling  is also offered.   The first six sessions of counselling are offered free to members of both farm organizations in the Province.  Following that, the cost is  $90 per session.

You can contact a counsellor in confidence  by calling 1-800-736-8006.  Hours are flexible and appointments can be made at the earliest convenience.

Find out more on the Government of PEI website: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/agriculture-and-fisheries/farmer-assistance-program

District Newsletter – May 2019

TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF DISTRICT 1, REGION 1:

I am pleased to send you this newsletter with details of our Collective Bargaining agreement on fertilizer which was recently negotiated with P. E. I. Agromart as well as information on the fuel agreement and our upcoming annual Lobster Supper.

Fertilizer Agreement – Members of the NFU Collective Bargaining Committee met recently with P. E. I. Agromart to obtain a fertilizer agreement for NFU members for 2019. The following items comprise the agreement for 2019 – this will be signed in the very near future.

1. The commencement date of this agreement was April 1, 2019.

2. The agreement on fertilizer purchases will be in effect until November 20, 2019. Farmers are encouraged to have their fertilizer accounts paid by that date. Rebates will be paid to farmers according to the amount paid by that date. The rebate to NFU members will increase this year to $8.25 per tonne. The rebate paid to members on the Summerside Soil Amendment will be $1.50 per tonne this year.

3. PEI Agromart will make payment owed to farmers and the NFU by December 31, 2019. Please see the attached brochure from Agromart. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A NFU MEMBER AT THE TIME OF EVERY PURCHASE. This will ensure that you receive your rebate.

If you have any questions, please contact the Collective Bargaining Committee members – Gordon Vessey at 902-629-1332; Vernon MacLeod at 902-651-2406 or myself at 902-436-2518.

I might add that the issuing of the fertilizer rebate for 2018 has been delayed, but it is expected that NFU members will receive their rebate cheques in the very near future.

FUEL AGREEMENT – The Collective Bargaining Committee has secured an agreement with Island Petroleum Ltd. for NFU members for 2019. Again, it is important to make sure that Island Petroleum knows you are a member of the NFU in order to receive your reduced price of fuel at the time of each delivery.

LOBSTER SUPPER – Kinkora Place in Kinkora has been booked for Saturday, June 8, 2019 for our annual lobster supper for NFU members and friends. Supper will begin at 7:30 p.m. The cost will be approximately $20 per person.

The District will supply the dinner rolls and members are asked to bring a salad or dessert to share. There will be meat available for those who do not eat lobster. Tickets will be available from Douglas Campbell at 902-436-2518; Elwin Wyand at 902-963-2621; Reg Phelan at 902-961-2428; Byron Petrie at 902-213-5862; Randall Affleck at 902-887-2597 or Edith Ling at 902-368-1262.

DISTRICT CONVENTION – Our NFU District Convention was held in March with a large group of people in attendance. We received a slide presentation from the then Minister of Communities, Lands and Environment , Richard Brown and staff member Spencer Matheson. As expected, this was inconclusive and really did not delve far enough into the issue to show the real picture of land in this Province being purchased by non-residents and corporations. Resolutions were considered during the day. If you would like to have a copy, please contact

Edith Ling at 902-368-1262. District officials were re-elected for another term – District Director, Douglas Campbell; Women’s District Director, Edith Ling; Youth District Director, Byron Petrie.

LAND – The NFU has continued to work diligently on the matter of preserving and protecting our farm land for family farmers. Much investigative work has been carried on, meetings held, and letters to the editor written. On the day the election writ was dropped, March 26, 2019 we were pleased to learn that Executive Council denied the request of three Irving corporations to purchase over 2,200 acres of land from Brendel Farms in North Bedeque and other areas. However, we were disappointed to learn that on the very same day, Executive Council granted permission to Island Holdings Ltd. of New Brunswick to purchase 100.25 acres of land in Margate. Directors of Island Holdings Ltd. are none other than James K. Irving and Robert K. Irving. It is hard to conclude that the previous administration in this Province was serious in upholding the spirit and intent of the PEI Lands Protection Act.

When the new government is in place in this Province, the NFU plans to make arrangements to schedule a meeting. Hopefully, we will not be met with the same opposition as we have experienced in years past when we tried to ensure the enforcement of the Lands Protection Act. We are hopeful that the new government will act quickly to close the obvious loopholes that have been used to circumvent the original purpose of the Act.

The moratorium on high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation will be another matter we will closely watch. Water extraction from the holding ponds is another issue we will be discussing.

NATIONAL CONVENTION – The 50th anniversary of the founding of the NFU will be celebrated at the National Convention from November 25 to 28th in Winnipeg – where it all began. I hope you will plan to attend. It is expected that the Region 1 Convention will be held in PEI later this year.

I look forward to seeing you all at the lobster supper on June 8 in Kinkora.

Douglas Campbell, NFU District Director