It's a sunny Friday afternoon and this rock of anxiety that has been sitting on my chest all week as the new Environment Minister, Stephen Myers, has bullied and forced his will on our PEI ecology with a certain disgusting kind of joy. So I do what makes me feel better. Write a pointed letter.
"I’m writing today as a farmer in the Wilmot and Dunk River watershed. We farm 550 acres smack dab in the middle of the potato belt. In the last few years:
- we’ve witnessed several new 'ponds' within a 2km radius of our farm (4 in the last 6 months), in addition to the ones built prior to that.
- We’ve had the land around and beside us bought up by the devious workings of lawyers and the ineffective enforcement of the Lands Protection Act.
- The stream that we fish and play in and was pumped below safe levels after the approval of our government representatives during a severe drought this past summer.
- The hedgerows that hold the snow and cut the wind, and the wooded areas that serve as wildlife habitat and corridors have been decimated and removed at incredible rates to make way for larger fields and bigger, heavier equipment.
Premier King & Minister Myers, it is at your own political peril to let the lobbyists and CEO’s of food corporations convince you that the naysayers are merely a handful of pearl-clutching protesters who hold no influence. We live here and visibly witness the continued disregard for the ecology of this area, because the policies to protect it are either ineffective or non-existent. Our livelihood as farmers is threatened not by the climate as much as it is by weak leadership that makes it possible, and even paves the way for an exploitation of our natural resources and landscape.
The rising tide of land clearing, holding ponds, shady land deals, high capacity wells and a dismissal of public concerns is making for some very strong swimmers and we will not be drowned by your turning a blind eye and reminding us that we’re not the boss, as our newest Minister of the Environment is all too happy to share.
A change in tone, a backbone and some policy with teeth (and shorter deadlines) would go a long way in ensuring not only a longer political career, but healthy soil, air and water for Prince Edward Islanders."