NFU Presents to the PEI Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability

Edith Ling and Doug Campbell appeared before the PEI Legislature’s Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Sustainability on November 5, 2020. They shared the NFU’s concerns about Prince Edward Island’s most valuable resources, stressing the importance of recognizing the interconnection between the health of farming, and of land and water. They urged to committee to and the public responsibility of ensuring that land and water are utilized and protected for the good of all farmers and all Islanders. You can see their presentation on facebook here (or visit the PEI Legislature’s website here and search for the November 5 meeting) of the committee (the presentation starts at 1 hr 16 min) is or their read their entire submission here. Continue reading

Stop This Attack on Island Farmland

GUEST OPINION BY EDITH LING

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In response to David Weale’s opinion article in The Guardian Nov. 29, Alan Holman, in the Dec. 1, issue of the newspaper, expressed his opinion that farmers and many Islanders are not concerned about who owns the land despite the takeover of Island farm land by large corporations, including the Irving empire and the sale of precious farm land to Asian interests (GEBIS, etc.).

One of the main purposes of this act is to preserve Island farmland for farm families and to prevent the accumulation of farm land in the hands of large industrial corporations, i.e. the Irvings. Now, they and other large corporations have found loopholes in the act all with the apparent blessing of the provincial government.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Holman did not attend the meeting of the Select Standing Committee on Communities, Land and the Environment Nov. 1, 2018 and witness the snow job presented by Robert Irving. Mr. Holman would have easily seen a very smooth presentation in which Irving asked that the land limits under the LPA be increased for potato producers. Continue reading

Water Act Up for Debate

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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

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

NFU Meets with Minister of Environment

On June 22, District 1 members of the NFU met with Honourable Robert Mitchell, Minister of Communities, Land and the Environment to discuss their concerns about holding ponds and our water supply. Here is what they said:DSCF3491

Thank you for affording the National Farmers Union the opportunity to meet with you this afternoon to discuss some issues which are of great concern when we see what is going on in the countryside around us.

A number of holding ponds are being constructed. Are these being put in under supervision on the part of your Department?   They certainly need to be monitored. There was one known case this spring where the run-off water ran around the holding pond (newly constructed last fall), taking a lot of soil with it. This in turn ran into a stream, turning it red and on into a bay. Surely this is not protecting our waterways.

New wells are being dug at an accelerated rate this year. Is your Department aware and/or involved in this? No doubt these wells will be used to fill the holding ponds. Spring run-off cannot run uphill and rainwater in the ponds will soon evaporate. Some people in communities are quite concerned about their own water supply in the future as they see three or four new wells being dug on a nearby property.

What is the Government proposing for the number of wells to fill these ponds? Is it one well per pond as we were told in the meeting with your officials prior to the public meeting in April in Charlottetown, or is it one well per pond per PID as was stated at that public meeting? There is a vast difference in these two answers.

We feel that all this work is being done as a way to circumvent the moratorium on high capacity wells.

Do you agree?

The National Farmers Union submits that if the Government was really serious about protecting and preserving our water, a moratorium should have been placed on the construction of these ponds and the digging of wells to fill them until the Water Act was proclaimed and the Regulations under that Act were put into effect. Will the Act and Regulations govern these ponds and wells or will they continue to exist without regulation since they are there before the Act?

Aqua Bounty – Is this company being allowed to change direction and grow mature salmon in the Rollo Bay location although their initial application did not indicate this? What about the effluent going into the Bay?

So far we have good water in this Province, but we need to do everything possible to preserve and protect it for the future.

Respectfully submitted

National Farmers Union, District 1, Region 1