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
Saturday, March 3rd, 1-4 pm
Milton Community Hall
Cooper Institute’s annual Social Justice Symposium in honour of Father Andrew Macdonald aims to clarify the need for legislation to faithfully reflect the intent and purpose (the spirit) of an act in the form of enforceable laws (the letter). Recent spirit/letter work in the formation of the newly passed PEI Water Act will provide lessons to understand better what is happening to the PEI Lands Protection Act (LPA).
The interactive event will begin with a panel discussing the spirit and the letter of the Lands Protection Act, the history of PEI voices for the protection of land; how and why the Act is often misinterpreted; and the loopholes in the Act. Panellists are: Marie-Ann Bowman with Reg Phelan, Douglas Campbell, and Edith Ling. Event participants in discussion groups will share what they recognize as positive action to enhance the LPA role as protector of the land and what action Islanders can take to require government to strengthen the Act.
The symposium is held in memory of Father Andrew Macdonald, a founder of Cooper Institute and composer of the song “No! No! Don’t Sell PEI”. Tony Reddin will lead a rendition of that song. Internationally-acclaimed singer/song writer, Teresa Doyle will perform her own songs related to land protection.
There is no entry fee. Subsidies are available on request for travel and child/elder care. Refreshments will be served.
All land lovers are welcome. Register here.
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.