Letters to the Ed­i­tor

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary -

Re: Money Point Quarry

To the Ed­i­tor:

In re­gards to the Money Point Quarry: All ap­provals for this quarry are from the provin­cial govern­ment and their Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment. The Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Vic­to­ria County played no role in its ap­proval.

Coun­cil­lor Nor­man Macdon­ald brought this is­sue to coun­cil on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. The mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil sent letters to Dex­ter Con­struc­tion and the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, ask­ing that both host and/or at­tend an open house in the dis­trict to ad­dress our res­i­dents' con­cerns, but nei­ther did. The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment sug­gested in­stead that res­i­dents voice their con­cerns to them via email or mail.

The Premier replied to a coun­cil let­ter sent in May, writ­ing that the project is un­der con­di­tional ap­proval. Vic­to­ria County con­tin­ues to ad­vo­cate on con­stituent's be­half in re­gards to this mat­ter, I en­cour­age res­i­dents to voice their con­tin­u­ing con­cerns to the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Dex­ter Con­struc­tion.

Cor­re­spon­dence to and from the Premier in re­gard to this is­sue, can be found on our web­site at vic­to­ri­a­county.com.

Bruce Mor­ri­son, War­den Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of Vic­to­ria

Sus­tain­able beef cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ques­tion­able

Dear Ed­i­tor,

I was rather un­der­whelmed by re­cent press re­gard­ing Mcdon­alds start­ing to sell “cer­ti­fied sus­tain­able beef”.

Claims that this is the first such pro­gram in the world don’t bear much scru­tiny. Hav­ing read the pro­gram pro­duc­tion pro­to­cols, I can as­sure you they are con­sid­er­ably less rig­or­ous than those I was meet­ing for the Scot­tish Farm As­sur­ance pro­gram in the early 1990s.

My ex­pe­ri­ence with that pro­gram doesn’t en­cour­age me that there will be any ben­e­fit to Cana­dian cat­tle pro­duc­ers from this pro­gram in the long run. The Scot­tish model sim­i­larly en­cour­aged early par­tic­i­pa­tion with the promise of mar­ket pre­mi­ums, yet once a crit­i­cal mass was achieved the pre­mi­ums dis­ap­peared and any­one that wasn’t “Farm As­sured” had their pro­duce dis­counted in the mar­ket­place.

I pre­dict Canada will fol­low the same path as Scot­land with the cat­tle pro­ducer left to shoul­der the bur­den of on­go­ing costs and reg­u­la­tion to meet the stan­dards in per­pe­tu­ity for no fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit. With only $20 per head be­ing used as the bait in the trap -- and this be­ing paid to the feed­lot op­er­a­tor -- the rancher likely won’t get enough to buy a Big Mac the day he is in town sell­ing his calves!

What re­ally ran­kles me though, is that farm­ers and ranch­ers must be cer­ti­fied as hav­ing pro­duc­tion prac­tices at­tain­ing a cer­tain level of en­vi­ron­men­tal and op­er­a­tional sus­tain­abil­ity - for Mcdon­alds! The same Mcdon­alds whose menu items are gen­er­ally con­sid­ered junk food con­tribut­ing to the obe­sity epi­demic and in­clude a throw away Chi­nese made plas­tic toy with ev­ery “kids meal”? I’d like to know where the sus­tain­abil­ity, en­vi­ron­men­tal or oth­er­wise, is in this case, and who is au­dit­ing them?

I think the real driver of this pro­gram is ful­fill­ing the de­sire of agri-food pro­ces­sors and re­tail­ers to en­vi­ron­men­tally “green­wash” their cor­po­rate im­ages in the eyes of the con­sumer. What they are re­ally try­ing to buy for $20 is the trusted rep­u­ta­tion farm­ers and ranch­ers have built up over gen­er­a­tions. I’m sorry, but mine isn’t for sale and I won’t be par­tic­i­pat­ing in any such scheme.

Iain Aitken Bel­mont, Man­i­toba

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