Bill 17 May Prove Detrimental to the Environment

CANADA - The leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party fears the passage of legislation that will ban swine industry development in much of eastern Manitoba will do more to hurt the environment than help it, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

On Wednesday Bill 17, the Manitoba Environment Amendment Act, passed by a margin of 36 for, 19 against.

The bill establishes a permanent moratorium on the construction of new or expanded swine barns in Southeastern Manitoba, the Red River Valley Special Management Area and the Interlake.

Manitoba Liberal leader Dr. Jon Gerrard says, when you impose a moratorium on the industry, you freeze the industry where it is instead of allowing it to grow and to improve the way it addresses environmental issues and hog management issues.

Dr. Jon Gerrard-Manitoba Liberal Leader

As you know, I've been a champion of environmental stewardship and cleaning up lake Winnipeg and there certainly has been some very significant progress.

It's not perfect but, for example, almost all producers have moved to inject the manure into the land so it doesn't run off into the waterways, we've got changes in looking after animals.

There's much less in the way of bacteria using so we have less problem with resistant strains and there's changes coming in terms of how we house the animals.

I was at Crystal Spring Colony recently.

They've got the technology but the problem is that what hog producers need is the ability to expand because at the same time you expand you introduce new technology, you improve the way you look after the environment and, by freezing things for much of the province, what's going to happen is we're going to have less ability to address environmental and animal husbandry issues.

This Bill 17 is just misguided and wrong headed.

Dr. Gerrard says he is surprised that the NDP government ignored those who presented against the bill again and again during public hearings.

He believes the government has not thought this bill through carefully and has not paid attention to the science but has moved forward under the illusion that it's doing something for Lake Winnipeg when it's not clear this bill will do anything to help Lake Winnipeg.

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