Only after the last tree has been cut down.  Only after the last river has been poisoned.  Only after the last fish has been caught.  Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread Statement of the Precautionary Principle.
Research: RM Regulations

Published in the Western Producer on February 10, 2005
ACRE questions

Dear Editor: 

With the recent ‘public consultations’ held by ACRE (Action Committee on the Rural Economy) in a few locations around the province, we can now connect the dots to complete the picture of the provincial government’s well-orchestrated,  three-legged scheme to revitalize Saskatchewan’s economy. 

In a March 11, 2004 press release, Neil Hardy, President of  the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, indicated that they had been working to standardize rules and regulations, such as those for intensive livestock operations…  He went on to say, “This would tie into what ACRE and Saskatchewan Agrivision Corporation are doing.  We want to clear the path for them.”  

So, over the summer, SARM’s Clearing the Path committee met quietly with Saskatchewan stakeholders:  folks from the oil and gas industry, industrial livestock production, forestry, mining, transportation, etc…  

There apparently was no input into this process from small family farmers, educators, health workers, youth, seniors, religious, or environmental groups.  

There also were no public meetings held to give ordinary folks, all equal stakeholders in this province, the opportunity to participate.  

SARM’s final recommendations for clearing the path for ACRE and SAC will be presented to government in March 2005…. 

On November 4, Agrivision held their Droughtproofing the Economy meeting in Regina, at which the Water Wealth Report, a 50-year water plan authored by Clifton Associates, was launched.    

This Report sets out a scheme which would create economic wealth by, as Mr. Clifton described it, using all the “Saskatchewan water that flows past and makes no contribution to our well being.”… 

There was nothing in their various presentations about how their scheme calls for conservation or protection of our precious water sources through any precautionary considerations.  

We did learn, however, that they have no recent data on the location of our underground aquifers, which supply many of us with our precious drinking water… 

December 2004.  Rural residents were invited to five ACRE public consultations held around the province to learn about, among other things, its Crown Land Subcommittee’s recommendations “that Crown land that is not held for important policy reasons be sold, or treated as a commercial asset” and, about its Infrastructure Subcommittee’s recommendations calling for the Saskatchewan government to “commit to a coordinated strategy of guaranteeing infrastructure in a limited number of regional centres, thereby providing the certainty that those centres will thrive, and will be able to provide support to the surrounding region.”… 

Based on this Report then, we’ll all get to put our tax money into the provincial hands, but only the chosen  communities or regions will be supported!  

Are these the same clusters that are referred to in Agrivision’s 50-year water scheme - chosen communities near the reservoirs created by the dams?  

Could those living beyond the cluster boundaries be left to fend for themselves as they spend their own money to try to keep their schools open, highways in good repair, their ‘not-chosen’ towns from dying, and driving to the cluster for medical services?… 

March 2005.  SARM and ACRE are to present their recommendations to government;   recommendations which appear to be remarkably in harmony with Agrivision’s 50-year water plan… 

Those of us in the ‘without-much-potential’ communities will be especially interested in how the recommendations from these three Department of Rural Revitalization work parties will improve the economic well being of all of Saskatchewan’s current and future residents?  

Who was it that said, “Beware the Ides of March”?  

Elaine Hughes
Archerwill, SK

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How SARM spent its summer vacation!
Published in the Wadena News on October 20, 2004

Dear Editor:

Over the summer, SARM’s Clearing the Path Committee has been quietly meeting with some of Saskatchewan stakeholders.  A few of these include the oil and gas, forestry, industrial livestock, trucking, manufacturing, and geophysical contracting industries, the Chamber of Commerce, and Agrivision.  Apparently, there were no plans to meet with small family farmers, health or environmental groups, educators, religious, Seniors or Youth groups – all equal stakeholders in the survival of this province.  It is also unfortunate that there were no public meetings planned around the province to give ordinary folks a chance to participate in this process.

The Committee's job is to identify impediments to economic development within the existing municipal structure, legislation or policy, and to make recommendations for change.  Its goal is to create a regulatory environment that doesn’t hinder economic development in rural Saskatchewan.   

During the September 3 radio program, “Growing the Future, listeners heard that some impediments identified so far include too many rural municipalities with too few people, shortage of leaders in rural communities with time to volunteer, residents’ short-term view of rural economics, differences in bylaws from one RM to the next, intentional or unintentional impediments (interveners) to development schemes, and shortage of a stable work force. 

At its Mid-term Convention in November, SARM plans to present its interim project report, with its final report ready for the Annual SARM Convention in March 2005.  Will its recommendations for change ask that towns join SARM to bring population numbers up?  That our 297 rural municipalities amalgamate into regions and have standardized bylaws so that decisions on local issues can be made by someone outside the area and rubber-stamped by local Council (like Manitoba’s proposed Bill 40)?  That Saskatchewan Environment give up what’s left of its regulatory control, leaving the responsibility of protecting our environment and health with the investors and operators of development projects…projects like industrial hog barns? 

Will transparency and public participation be part of the Government’s reaction to these recommendations for change?  Will their decisions be based on precaution and wisdom, aimed at sustainable and appropriate economic development?  Will their Number One priority be the protection of our air, soil and precious drinking water, our health and the well-being of the future children of Saskatchewan? 

Elaine Hughes
Archerwill, SK

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Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan
Box 23,   Archerwill, SK  S0E 0B0
Telephone:  306-323-4938

April 30, 2004

Ken Engel, Executive Director
SARM
2075 Hamilton Street
Regina, SK   S4P 2E1

Dear Mr. Engel:

Re:  Press Release:  “Clearing the Path” for Economic Development

Thank you for returning my call earlier this week.  I decided I would avoid further ‘telephone-tag’ by writing you a letter.

On behalf of the Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan, I would like more detailed information about the Committee that SARM has established to identify impediments to rural economic development.  What is this Committee’s mandate?  Please provide us with the names and communities represented by the twelve reeves and councillors, the three SARM board members, and the two rural administrators who have been appointed to the Committee.   

Have you identified the stakeholders this Committee will be meeting with over the summer?  And if so, please provide us with your list and your plans for consulting them over the summer.  As stakeholders, we feel we could have valuable input into identifying impediments to rural economic development and we would like to participate in this exciting and interesting process.  Please outline how we too can become full contributing partners to help clear the path for economic development.

And, finally, since our organization supports environmentally-friendly family farmers, we are also interested in appropriate economic development and rural prosperity for this province.  Please suggest ways we could become involved in the research the Committee is planning on doing over the summer that would benefit local farmers in our respective areas?  We would like to have the schedule of these meetings in order to plan to attend and participate in them.

I look forward to your reply.  Thank you for your time.

Yours truly,
Elaine Hughes  

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‘RETYPED FROM THE ORIGINAL BY ELAINE HUGHES’

===============================================

THE SASKATCHEWAN ASSOCIATION OF RURAL MUNICIPLATIES
2075 Hamilton Street
Regina, SK   S4P 2E1
Telephone:  757-3577, Fax:  565-2141
 

May 25, 2004

Elaine Hughes
Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan
Box 23
Archerwill, Sask. S0E 0B0

Dear Ms Hughes:

This letter is in response to your letter regarding our “Clearing the Path” initiative.  The objective of the committee is to identify impediments to economic development within the existing municipal structure, legislation or policy and to make recommendations for change.

The twelve elected reeves and councillors are:

Barry Harris - North Portal
Glenn Blakeley - Tantallon
Jack Drew - Regina                   
Ellis Leaman - Chaplin
Les Potter - Gull Lake     
John Wagner - Piapot
Bryan Barniski - Carrot River 
Mervin Kryzanowski - Wadena
Ed Bobiash - Allan            
Richard Potter - Shellbrook
Don Young - Maidstone    
Ray Wilfing - Meadow Lake

The three SARM Board Members are President Neal Hardy (Hudson Bay), who is also the chair of the committee, Vice President  David Marit (Fife Lake) and

Director Jim Hallick (Sturgis).  There are two SUMA representatives, being

Barry Gunther, VP for villages and Phil DeVos, VP for cities.  The two administrators are Kevin Ritchie (Wilcox) and Don McCallum (Cut Knife).

The stakeholders identified for the complete committee to meet with are the oil & gas industry, the forest industry, manufacturing industry, the intensive livestock industry, the Chamber of Commerce, and Agrivision.  So far the committee has met with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers,

Weyerhaeuser, Saskatchewan Pork Producers, Saskatchewan Agrivision Corporation and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. 

We are trying to arrange meetings with the Cattle Feeders Association,

Saskatchewan Truckers Association, Small Explorers & Producers Association of Canada, Saskatchewan Mining Association, Prairie Implements Manufacturing Association, Canadian Energy Pipelines Association,  Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors,  Canadian Association of Drilling Contractors and the  Petroleum Services Association of Canada.

The committee will also be meeting with related provincial government department representatives.  Time and financial resources are limited for this project so we have limited the stakeholders mainly to groups whose members are currently in business in rural Saskatchewan.

The committee has been divided into two subcommittees, one to work on the area of transportation and the second to work on other development issues.  The subcommittees may identify other stakeholders that they wish to meet with.  Because of limited time and financial resources the committee is unable to accommodate every group that would like to meet with them and will not be holding public meetings around the province.  However, they would welcome a written submission from your group or any other group with an interest in economic development in rural Saskatchewan.

Thank you for your interest in the Clearing the Path project and thank you for your interest in economic development in rural Saskatchewan.

Sincerely,

“Original signed by Ken Engel, Executive Director”

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