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
The 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.
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.
Shannon Jones, Regional Women’s Director
Philippe Gervais, Regional Youth Director
Ayla Fenton, National Youth Director
Rosalind Waters of the PEI Trade Justice Network