No permit and no regional representation
As of 10:15 a.m., April 27, Manitoba Conservation had not issued a license for the city’s 2016 pesticide control program scheduled to begin May 1.
Manitoba Conservation confirms it has received a number of complaints/concerns about the program. A government source has told the Herald Leader, “several concerns have been brought forward to the department regarding the condition of Crescent Lake. The decision to issue will not be made until all additional information as requested is provided.
The source adds, Conservation and Water Stewardship (CWS) “is seeking advice internally and from Health Canada on this use pattern to better address the identified concerns. Portage has on its own accord, sent out a Request for Proposal to have a plan put forward that would help them improve the water quality of the lake. The outcome of this report will likely reflect the path forward for management of this water body.”
This is not cause for local environmentalists to celebrate, or for the City of Portage la Prairie to reimagine its pesticide control program. All it means is the provincial government is waiting for Health Canada to confirm what the city plans to use in its 2016 program to control weeds in Crescent Lake, is government approved. The chemicals, including Malathion, Round-up and Reward are government approved with the proviso they are applied as per directions. “Municipalities are responsible to make decisions on pest control programs and the selection of products to fit the issues,” the government source says. “CWS’s role is to ensure the products proposed are appropriate for use and that the limits, terms and conditions of the product label are adhered to.”
The city has no intention of harming its citizens. Complaints and concerns registered with CWS during the public input period, are from those looking to stop the use of what they call “dangerous and poisonous chemicals”.
As told to me, “do you know of anyone who has swam in the lake?” Collectively the environmentalists want the city to use alternative and greener methods.
See The Graphic on May 3 for an in depth and exclusive story.
It could easily be called taxation without representation. A twisted Robin Hood, in this case a federal Liberal government, taxing Manitobans and spending it who knows where, can also describe the scenario MP Lisa Raitt, official opposition critic for finance, delivered this week in Portage.
“There is no regional minister for Manitoba,” she said. “People here looking to communicate with the federal government don’t know where to go; who to talk to.”
On Monday, Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen, hosted a roundtable with in respect to the recently tabled Liberal Budget. Bergen described the absence of a regional minister for Manitoba as a “void in the political fabric.
“This is essential,” she said. “People need to know who they can go to. We are missing a key player at the table and it is hurting the province’s ability to move ahead with certain projects.”
What Bergen is saying is true. During city council meeting Monday night, the finance committee reported it is waiting to hear from the newly elected provincial government how it can help with the expected over $100-million cost of a nutrient removal project.
Conversations at the federal level finds the city still needing to find the answer man. As it sits today, Portage la Prairie is on the hook for the complete bill that will certainly top $100-million.
Returning provincial conservative Ian Wishart is on the record stating talks at all levels will attract funding for the expensive project.
The right players have to be brought to the table.
As Conservative critic on the economy, Raitt is a member of the all-party committee that will sit to discuss the tabled Liberal budget. The budget implementation act is coming to the committee within weeks.
“I’m here to get a little grassroots information. People came with great preparation of what they want us to tell them back in Ottawa. The common theme is infrastructure. Be it representatives from the Rural Municipality, people who run Southport and area farmer,” said Raitt.
Issues raised during the discussion were in regard to infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, accountability as well as flooding. Concerns were raised about how the Liberal deficit and increased taxes, will impact small businesses and local producers.
“The Liberals have forgotten farmers. They have also forgotten small business owners. They have increased taxes and taken away the hiring tax credit for small businesses with Budget 2016,” said Bergen. “We need to be looking at ways to keep our economy going strong, and the small business owners and community leaders we met with had some great ideas for the Portage area, and Canada as a whole.”