Open Forum

TWO LAKES TO RESCUE

To the Editor:

Re: Water diversion report angers Manitoba farmers (WP, July 24).

Lake Manitoba is in the spotlight, of what “not to do.”

Now we have two polluted lakes to deal with.

Following are figures for phosphorus loading into Lake Manitoba reported in 2009. Only the Lord knows what that figure is now.

Source: The Portage Diversion and its impact on Lake Manitoba’s Water Quality, by Reanne Pernerowski.

Winnipeg Free Press, May 5/11, “Diversion unhealthy for Lake Manitoba” by Bartley Kives.

From the Portage Diversion: 16,543 tons (93 percent). From the Waterhen River: 779 tons (four percent.) From the Whitemud River: 561 tons (three percent).

The province sure knows ways to pollute a lake of formerly clean unadulterated water. During my years of service with the RCAF, (Royal Canadian Air Force) I spent many wonderful summer weekends at a favourite place we used to gather at, I believe it was called Delta Beach. That was a long time ago, in the early 50s.

It is apparent that our modern provincial “water experts” have a great deal to learn, when it concerns water.

SAGE GROUSE FIASCO

To the Editor:

I read with interest the editorial Environmental policy must favour common sense, not fear (WP July 24).

For decades conservation organizations have partnered with landowners in wildlife habitat conservation programs producing positive results for producers and wildlife. Conservationists have long recognized that without landowners’ support and co-operation, efforts to preserve biodiversity are in vain.

With the population of sage grouse dwindling to less than 100 in Canada, the federal government chose to ignore its own laws and do nothing to assist landowners in protecting these imperiled birds.

In light of this inaction, several environmental groups launched legal action seeking to require the federal government to take action. The fact that the federal court agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered Ottawa to abide by the Species at Risk legislation and assist one of Canada’s most endangered species turned out to be of little consolation.

Without consulting either conservationists or landowners harbouring the few remaining sage grouse, Ottawa issued an Emergency Protection Order earlier this year that heaped burdensome and costly restrictions with no financial assistance on the very producers stewarding the remaining sage grouse.

By its inaction, the guilty party (the federal government) has remained relatively unscathed while the concerned public points fingers at conservationists and landowners for the conflict and demise of the endangered sage grouse.

Livestock producers in southwest Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta are to be commended for their stewardship of our valuable grasslands and native flora and fauna. A co-operative, inclusive and carrot (rather than stick) approach by Ottawa would have been a much preferred response to the federal court’s decision. But the reality is that Ottawa’s missteps have brought the sage grouse to the brink of extinction in Canada. Producers and conservationists will continue to communicate and work together to ensure that long-term livestock operations continue and prairie biodiversity is protected on our native rangelands.

EXTENSIONS NEEDED

To the Editor:

There is no question that there is something terribly wrong with many Manitoba communities being forced to amalgamate in any flooded areas, while still dealing with the current flood and the aftermath and devastation caused by a natural disaster three years ago.

Pressured by the Progressive Conservatives in 2013, the NDP added a caveat into Bill 33. In Clause 3(5) of the bill, it states that “The minister may, by written order, extend the deadline under subsection (4) in respect of a municipality if he or she is satisfied of the following: … (b) the municipality’s ability to participate in preparing an amalgamation plan has been negatively affected as a result of a recent natural or other disaster, such as flooding.”

The flood of 2011, coupled with the current flooding is a prime reason to extend the deadline for many municipalities in need. It is time for the NDP to step up to the plate, and grant these municipalities the necessary four-year extension as promised within Bill 33.

According to Minister (Ron) Lemieux: “The key word in the language in the amendment is ‘has been negatively affected.’ There’s no year to say, year 2011 or 2013 or whatever; it just says, you have to be negatively affected by this — result of a natural disaster…”

These municipalities are once again dealing with widespread devastation to homes, businesses and infrastructure caused by the NDP’s inability to manage the watershed, which has resulted in flooding.

The NDP is making decisions now that are going to have lasting effects on municipalities over the next four years that will limit their ability to manage municipalities in a time of crisis.

COSTS OF FARMING

To the Editor:

If you ask a farmer what his main costs are, he would probably say fertilizer at $100 per acre. Maybe he would say Crop and Hail insurance at $50 to $60 per acre. Maybe chemical costs would be $40 to $50 per acre. We all know there are many costs of doing business.

However, I am sure he would not think of the hidden $272.50 per acre it costs to have one of our trusted grain companies take our wheat to the coast and put it on a boat.

There could be a farmer out there reading this, and saying that’s not possible. Well, think of the $200 per tonne ($5.45 per bushel) that these companies are making on our backs, multiply that by your 50 bushel per acre wheat crop and see what you get. Maybe your arithmetic is better than mine. This is a direct cost to all farmers.

letters policy:

In seminary classes not only was I the only woman, but I envied the guys who asked questions or made comments the minute the lecturer took a breath. My questions and readiness to respond came in the middle of the night.

Fortunately, when I disagreed with a comment I learned to say “When I find the words I’ll tell you (my response).”

Finally the opportunity came to participate in a workshop on Myers-Briggs personality indicators. Not only did I find I was an “introvert”, but I also found that introverts have many admirable qualities and can make strong contributions in society.

This year our book club reviewed the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That can’t Stop Talking. I even offered to score the personality indicators of those who wanted to understand themselves in relation to the basic premise of the book.

Extroverts always have words at their command. As well, they gain energy from being around others. A party stimulates them.

Introverts need time to “recharge their batteries” between coming from work and going to a party. They also need time to reach inside themselves as they formulate responses and conclusions.

How affirming to discover at least one third of the people we know are introverts, people who our society may undervalue, but who can make great contributions. Living a more reflective life has its own merit.

In “a world that can’t stop talking” we need to thank God for the diversity that exists. Together introverts and extroverts have much to offer each other.

John Fefchak,


  • Keith

    Re:Costs of farming. This person is a single desk CWB supporter as I am also. But one must look at the much bigger picture. Fertilizer at 100 dollars per acre. But in last twenty years or more of thirty years of wheat prices. Fertilizer one did not have to use. All fertilizer did with wheat was cause oversupply or overproduction. Otherwise whether in Canada or the United States wheat would have been $12.00 per bushel.