|"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
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
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
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…
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
SARM and ACRE are to present their recommendations to government; recommendations
which appear to be remarkably in harmony with Agrivision’s 50-year water
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”?
Back to top
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?
Beyond Factory Farming
23, Archerwill, SK
Engel, Executive Director
2075 Hamilton Street
Regina, SK S4P 2E1
Press Release: “Clearing
the Path” for Economic Development
you for returning my call earlier this week.
I decided I would avoid further ‘telephone-tag’ by writing you
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.
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.
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.
look forward to your reply. Thank
you for your time.
FROM THE ORIGINAL BY ELAINE HUGHES’
SASKATCHEWAN ASSOCIATION OF RURAL MUNICIPLATIES
Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan
Archerwill, Sask. S0E 0B0
letter is in response to your letter regarding our “Clearing the Path”
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.
twelve elected reeves and councillors are:
Harris - North Portal
Glenn Blakeley - Tantallon
Jack Drew - Regina
Ellis Leaman - Chaplin
Les Potter - Gull
John Wagner - Piapot
- Carrot River
Mervin Kryzanowski - Wadena
Ed Bobiash - Allan
Richard Potter - Shellbrook
Don Young - Maidstone
- Meadow Lake
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
Jim Hallick (Sturgis).
There are two SUMA representatives, being
Gunther, VP for villages and Phil DeVos, VP for cities.
The two administrators are Kevin Ritchie (Wilcox) and Don McCallum
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
Saskatchewan Pork Producers, Saskatchewan Agrivision Corporation and the
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.
are trying to arrange meetings with the Cattle Feeders Association,
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.
committee will also be meeting with related provincial government
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.
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
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
you for your interest in the Clearing the Path project and thank you for
your interest in economic development in rural Saskatchewan.
signed by Ken Engel, Executive Director”