Manitoba gov’t seeks to repeal hog barn moratorium

New legislation introduced to cut red tape, aid hog barn expansion

Manitoba’s hog barn moratorium might finally be purged, and a host of other farming challenges might become simpler if the provincial government has its way.

The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act would hit many areas of regulation and legislation that affect farmers, including:

  • “remove general prohibitions from the Environment Act for the expansion of hog barns and manure storage facilities”
  • remove the ban on winter spreading of manure
  • reduce financial reporting requirements of the Veterinary Services Act applying to veterinary services boards
  • allow municipalities more room to fine people who break the Noxious Weeds Act
  • repeal the Manitoba Natural Resources Development Act

The proposed law is part of Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister’s long-anticipated war on “red tape,” which he has consistently referred to since being elected almost a year ago.

The government has moved very slowly in implementing its agenda, taking months to study issues and formulate policies before introducing legislation to the Manitoba legislature.

However, that has changed in recent weeks with major and contentious legislation introduced in quick succession, including legislation to re-open government sector wage contracts and amalgamate government sector worker union bargaining units.

The red tape act is being overseen by Finance Minister Cameron Friesen.

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“Our government is committed to eliminating the barriers that prevent business and local governments from thriving and expanding,” said Friesen as he announced the act.

“The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act would amend or repeal 15 pieces of legislation to reduce the red tape that is creating burdens on business, non-profits, municipalities, private citizens and government officials.”

The hog barn moratorium was being slowly dismantled before this, both with minor easings done by the previous NDP government and with changes to the building code and other regulations by the Pallister government, but language creating a general ban still existed within legislation.

The winter manure spreading ban upset many small hog barn operators, since few had manure lagoons large enough to hold a year’s worth of manure. Most larger barns have enough capacity that it is not an issue for them. 

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  • John Fefchak

    The Red tape elimination is not without controversy.
    The environment and protection of our water sources has fallen through the cracks.
    The concerns that I and so many others express were the very same 18 years ago; especially on odours, health issues, water pollution and ignoring the rural population. That is why”Hog Watch Manitoba” came into being and became popular to help the families that were being victimized by the unrelenting stench from the factory hog barns.
    So…who’s looking after the environment and our water now?
    Lake Winnipeg has the answer…..Nobody !
    It’s Pigs, …Politics, …Poop and Profit. Nothing else matters and our present government could care less. And it’s all done on the most lazy and cheapest way possible. Cut out all the red tape and streamline the process of issuing permits.
    Anaerobic digesters for manure?….Far too costly, so instead, they can dig…not one, but two holes to do the job as the Cutting edge of technology.
    How ingenious is that?

    • Harold

      This is exactly what happens when we allow the Servant to run our house; the servant could care less. What do you suppose needs to change?

      • John Fefchak

        The thinking of OUR present government needs to change. Manitoban’s have become complacent, allowing the Servant to run the house.
        After several years of encouragement, the previous NDP government came to the realization that Lake Winnipeg needed to be better protected from the over abundance of phosphorus.
        Hog waste being a top contributor. With the full approval of “all members” in the Manitoba Legislature; The Save Lake Winnipeg Act was enacted and became law. (2011)
        Brandon Sun Editorial-Feb. 11, 2017. “Following in Filmon’s Footsteps.” Initially, the Filmon government unfurled the red carpet and treatment for the hog Industry to come to Manitoba. Some 22 years or so later, the Pallister government has taken the cue to further expand the Industry, and taken away all the features that had been put in place to protect our environment, Lake Winnipeg and water sources. Yes, it is very clear that Mr. Pallister has been reading the Filmon playbook on how to run the Manitoba government.
        Water is not an important issue to the Conservative government!

        • Harold

          The government only produces proposals. That is their job.
          The public is to do all the thinking and either accept or reject the proposal. The Government does not think on our behalf so therefore the governments thinking does not need to change.
          If the public will not think and act then it is: “what ever you think government”. A government that cannot think for us will make a change? Can a Restaurant give you what you want without you placing your order? Will you leave them to order on your behalf and hope that they get it correct? Does the thinking of the restaurant owner need to change? What are Petitions and Referendums other that placing your order and precisely written. (we (who think) who have signed (act) in majority do not consent; period) We are too full of excusing ourselves and expecting a change. The majority have been groomed to give away its own democracy. Canadians ask what can you do against the powers of government and they have no answer but to give in, and when they do act, it is often to failure; that is our grooming. Canadian’s each hold very powerful laws that prevent government over-reaching and they do not know them and neither are they taught to them. You cannot act upon what you do not know. (groomed)

    • old grouchy

      I have a suggestion for both of the ‘thinkers’ that are indicating huge concern re: the water in Lake Winnipeg. If you really want to reduce the nutrient loading in the lake maybe its time to return the city of Winnipeg to the size it had in 1970. Now that would have a dramatic effect on the nutrient loading. Don’t have any easy suggestions on how to pick who goes and who stays but its time – – – – save the lake. Crap is bad (oops I keep forgetting the human stuff is never an issue – – – just that from animals!).

      • John Fefchak

        No…old grouchy, it is not just from animals, untreated human feces is also to blame…..but hog manure, according to the Lake Wpg.” Save the Lake Act” Hog manure is the Number ONE. contributor.(2011) A 2007 study by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission came to the same conclusion.
        I may be wrong, but I get the impression, you are not very interested in protecting our water sources. Yes, the size of Wpg has increased and the city officials have a great deal of “catching up” to do with needed improvements to the sewage treatment plants.
        The “green” in the waters of Lake Winnipeg is not because of St. Patricks Day celebrations.
        It is because there is an excess of sediments and nutrients from the immediate area,and from the huge watershed that feeds into the Lake. Why is this all happening now?
        Well in fact, it probably has been progressing over the past 40 years or more ,and through the years, natures own cleaning and filtering devices,such as marshes,sloughs, ponds,etc. have been greatly reduced and practically eliminated.
        Much of the land has been drained. Large cattle feedlots and Industrial hog operations are contributing vast amounts of manure and cities, like Winnipeg, occasionally permit the dumping of raw sewage into the rivers.
        As well,municipalities are not exempt from their own contributions of pollution,and the list goes on.
        In so many instances,we have eliminated Natures defences, and our
        government(s) although professing to be defenders of water, knowingly are agreeable to allow lakes to become polluted,as dumping sites for the benefit of mining operations.
        Hopefully, this information will be helpful.

        • old grouchy

          You bet, I understand what the report said. I disagree that the hog barns are the primary cause. The watershed for Lake Winnipeg is many many many thousands of square kilometers about 1/2 if not even slightly more of which aren’t even in Canada and all of the issue is with what you are referring to. By the way – – – Manitoba doesn’t have ANY large cattle feedlots. It has a few moderate ones. If you want large ones – – – well – – – you’re in the wrong province for that. In fact you need to travel until you are on the western side of Saskatchewan for that. But then of course – – – please don’t let a few inconvenient facts get in the road of a great diatribe. I am assuming that you no longer eat any beef or pork and as chickens are most often raised in an even more confined manner than the previously mentioned you’re also not eating chicken. As the fertilizers used for grain production are also nasty for Lake Winnipeg I am assuming that your consumption of grains and legumes has also been halted. But no – – – you’ve been active on here for at least the last 4 months – – – so its much more like I’ll do what I want but you have to do what I want as a modus operandi – – – yes. So you are a hypocrite – – – by your own standards. Oh well – – – good luck!

      • Denise

        The City of Winnipeg gets sued,by the Province, if it accidently releases UNtreated sewage into the environment.
        The factory hog barn operators are allowed to spread their UNtreated sewage onto the fields. They have been permitted to get rid of this untreated slurry in the cheapest way possible.
        A hog excretes ,at least,4X more waste than a human being does. There were approximately 7 to 8 million hogs ,in Manitoba, a few years ago. I don’t know the exact number now.
        It takes about 30,000 Imperial gallons of pure well water a day to provide drinking water for a hog operation of 10,000 hogs. You also have to factor in what they use to wash down these barns, each day. With the PED virus, I’ll bet they use more water now than when I got these numbers from the reluctant Dept. of Agriculture.
        That is 900,000 gallons of water a month for just 10,000 hogs. Over 9 million gallons of fresh water a year for 10,000 hogs. But there over 7 million hogs in the Province of Manitoba…and more to come!

        • old grouchy

          Like the last report that I could find of the City of Winnipeg ‘accidentally’ having a release of untreated sewage – – – it read – – – – oops, my bad – – – – and the province did absolutely nothing. Had that been a farmer spreading manure without his certificate it would likely have cost him multiple 10 of thousands of dollars in legal bills besides the fines and the costs afterward imposed by ‘Big Brother’.

  • Denise

    Are you kidding me?
    They are going to allow factory hog barns to spread hog slurry (liquid waste) on the land in the winter?
    I can see having leniency with small hog barn operators with straw -based manure but factory hog waste is Different. It is toxic brew of waste. It is NOT manure. We are familiar with all the pathogens it holds, by now.
    Imagine what happens in spring runoff or when it floods, which often nowadays…
    Say goodbye to Lake Winnipeg and our rivers and streams which are always in dire straits.
    I’m sure the residents with their beautiful cottages along the shores of Lake Winnipeg will be thrilled to see more 60 miles long toxic blue green algae blooms floating by their docks.
    Am I missing something here? Can our government, in their great wisdom , please explain to us, mere residents, how this is supposed to work?

  • John Fefchak

    FACT: The report, on record, by the 2007 Clean Environment Commission included ALL of the huge area that feeds into Lake Winnipeg. It is called the Watershed. Yes, I do believe the report was somewhat bias, as the Conservation & Environment Minister at the time (S. Struthers ) was in favour of the hog Industry and supported them. He directed the Study accordingly. Have you personally directed any of your comments to the city of Wpg. executives on raw sewage. (into the Red River)
    Fact: I have many times.

    • old grouchy

      Have any of your comments produced any change? As my experience is similar (no change possible nor wanted) I have stopped trying to effect any change in the bureaucracy – – – its far too entrenched. Maybe its time to let it all go to he## in a basket.

      • John Fefchak

        Far too entrenched ?
        Yes, And I guess if the people, governments, and allies forces did not respond to the situation of Nazi Germany and Hitlers campaign, many of us, even you, would be speaking a different language …most likely German.

  • John Fefchak

    Drainage of marches, sloughs, etc.
    There are many more Check it out! This one is from Ducks Unlimited Canada. “There are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.” – Yogi Berra.

    Up to 40 per cent of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region have been drained. More than 125 years ago, European settlers saw opportunity on the North American frontier. Minerals deposited by glaciers blended with decomposing vegetation to form fertile soils—ideal for farming. Agriculture is still a way of life on the prairies—and the pressure to drain wetlands to make room for production and development remains. As a result, more than 29,000 acres of potholes continue to be lost each year.

  • Harold

    Can you explain how Winnipeg can hinder immigration? It is the job of the federal government to “hinder” immigration and last I heard Justin Trudeau was inviting them in un-vetted. Has Winnipeg been given the power to control Canada’s borders? Have the Laws been rewritten to suit Winnipeg? Can you explain what a “formidable bias” is other than someone such as yourself who holds a strong opinion? If slaughter houses are too far away, doesn’t it make market sense to create jobs by building one? I’m not sure where you were going with this comment and a “grin”. What exactly is “bad science”? I don’t know of any bad science but i do know of deceptive information that claims to be science. They are bad people not “bad science” and that means that there is only science. I also do not get the connection between immigration and “a plethora of hysterical pundits slavering at the injustice of it all” and a hog barn. I didn’t know that a hypocrite sees the pig as one thing and an immigrant as another and the hypocrite deals with them both separately. I seem to be missing some facts. Perhaps your factual answers will alleviate my hysteria and I’ll become as comfortable as you.

    • old grouchy

      This is not immigration into a country but rather immigration into Winnipeg – – – the city. Anyone who wasn’t born in that city is an immigrant to it. Hoo boy – – – you’ve never run into bad science – – – oh well – – – enjoy your snooze Rip!
      Your comment re: slaughter houses – – – have you looked into slaughter houses on the prairies over the last 40 years (or North America for that matter)? I would guess not or your answer would not be quite so blithe. As you see immigration only in a national sense I am unable to elucidate anything to your satisfaction on this topic. I’m also not comfortable with the situation but my solutions are radically different than yours. My solutions put me in a very different situation than yours. Your solution is to ban this or that as is the fever du jour. Mine is to work the solution back to a long term solution – – – one that could be used for 100’s of years. But – – – these kinds of solutions would take your time and reduce your available income AND increase your food costs – – – so why would I elucidate. Instead I will feed myself and my family and watch the debacle!

  • old grouchy

    Yes – – – what an incredible double standard! Human raw waste (IIRC 3 days worth of Winnipeg raw sewage) running to 100s of millions of liters and its a $10k fine. That would take about 30 to 35 hog barns to equal that amount and hmmmmmm my guess is that each such incident would cost the respective barn owner likely more like 20 if not 50k $. So although Winnipeg was levied some flea bites for dumping its – – eliminate all the hog barns! Wow – – – you do understand that using this logic (which is that all waste is bad) that your only recourse is self destruction? That’s the only way to remove all waste from the system! (I’m not the one advocating this but YOU are!)

    • Denise

      Have you ever googled? : photos of hog slurry lagoons

      Then remember how many football field- sized lagoons, with massive amounts of contaminated hog poop, chemicals, drugs, viruses, and other pathogens ,exist in the province of Manitoba, many near the Red River and its tributaries.
      It’s not just pig poop and water that is piped into these lagoons. What do you suppose gives the lagoon slurry that lovely rosy pink hue?
      Do you know one of the first things they do when PEDv or PRRS hits a barn? Empty the hog slurry lagoons. Where does this contaminated and diseased slurry go?
      These guys don’t want to pay the costs of doing this kind of business, by investing in anaerobic digesters They want the public to pick up the tab on anything they can’t profit from.
      Everybody needs to have a look at these lagoons (photos are as close as the average person will get). They hide them as best they can from public’s view. But aerial views expose their true magnitude.
      They won’t even spend some money to buy lagoon covers, which would demonstrate some respect for their neighbours.
      Mutual respect can not be achieved until the hog industry comes clean on how they conduct their business in Manitoba.