Over 300 “frustrated and angry” people remain to speak on Manitoba’s planned moratorium on expansion of hog production after three days of hearings by the legislature’s ag committee, the province’s hog producer group reported Tuesday.
The Manitoba Pork Council said in a release that 319 people remain on the speakers’ list for the latest committee session, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. CT Tuesday evening, after Monday night’s session ran from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. with “only about 35 presenters” heard of “over 100” waiting their turn.
“People who want to share their views should not be expected to make a formal presentation in the middle of the night,” said MPC president Karl Kynoch, whose group has launched a major advertising campaign against the moratorium legislation, provincial Bill 17.
“This is clear evidence of the government’s political agenda to push this bill through as quickly as possible — at all costs,” said Kynoch, who called the committee’s backlog “absolutely ridiculous and completely unfair.”
Citing the sustainability of the Lake Winnipeg watershed, the government’s Bill 17 would cap the level of hog production in three regions of the province, including the Red River Valley, the Interlake region between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba, and the southeast, known as Manitoba’s “hog alley.”
“How can you expect people to drive in from the country, sit and wait all night, not be able to speak and then have to return the next day to do it all again?” said Kynoch, who farms at Baldur, Man., outside the planned moratorium area.
“Farm families with young children and people of all ages from Hutterite colonies were among those waiting to speak,” the MPC wrote. “For some people, the wait and anticipation was too much. One speaker broke down during his presentation and a couple of other speakers admitted they were just too tired to focus on their presentations at that time of night.”
The council and Keystone Agricultural Producers, the province’s general farm group, had recently encouraged hog producers and KAP’s farmer members to register to speak at the committee hearings as individual presenters, in addition to the two groups’ own presentations.
Kynoch was quoted in the May 29 Manitoba Co-operator as saying the council was looking to register 500 speakers.
Hog farmers, the MPC said in its release, have become “the government’s political scapegoat for the problems of Lake Winnipeg,
despite the fact that Manitoba hog farmers follow some of the strictest environmental rules and
regulations in North America.”