Reg Phelan and Edith Ling of National Farmers Union District 1, Region 1 recently met with newly-appointed Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Robert Henderson. Here is the text of their presentation:
Introduction The National Farmers Union (NFU) thanks you for this opportunity to have a preliminary, formal meeting with you. We congratulate you on being appointed as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in the current government. In this submission we aim to share with you some of the history, ideal and goals. We will also comment on the content of your mandate.
1.0 Origins and designs of the National Farmers Union The National Farmers Union was established as a national farm organization by Charter of the House of Commons in 1969, the only farm organization to have had such an honour. Its predominant mandate is to promote and protect the interests of farm families in Canada, not excluding or competing against those same interests in other countries The NFU is made up of voluntary family memberships. It is a grassroots organization, which develops its policies through democratic processes on the local district, regional, and national level. It promotes in its members a concern for all commodities and rejects the separation of farmers into divisive commodity groups. The NFU has maintained an involved membership. We have found that farmers are hungry for a family-farm vision of agriculture. The faith which many farm families have in the NFU impels us to continue lobbying policy makers, protesting unjust policies, educating the public, and proposing viable alternatives. We expect that in your new ministry you will honour the role of the NFU as a legitimate general farm organization in PEI as it is across the country. The NFU is committed to guarding its right and duty to speak out and to give voice to the interests of Island farm families. Continue reading
The District Convention will be held on Tuesday, April 3 at the Milton Community Hall with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. (The storm date is the following Thursday). This meeting is open to members of the public. This is one of several opportunities NFU members have to formulate farm policy at the grassroots level. Details to follow.
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
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.
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