Red tape bill 'stinks': Green party
CHUCK LIDDY/NEWS & OBSERVER
Environmental activists are protesting a bill, warning that its changes would allow the expansion of industrial hog barns that would further jeopardize the health of Lake Winnipeg.
Green Party leader James Beddome wasn't the least bit subtle Wednesday about what he thinks of the Pallister government's red tape reduction bill.
"This bill stinks!" Beddome declared to a rally on the steps of the Manitoba legislature.
"It's part of a Conservative agenda that tells us all regulation is bad," Beddome said. "Government efficiency means don't do our homework; if there's no data, there's no problem."
Environmental activists led by the Wilderness Committee and Hog Watch Manitoba protested Bill 24, an omnibus bill going to public hearings sometime later this month, warning that within its reductions to regulations were changes that would allow the expansion of industrial hog barns that would further jeopardize the health of Lake Winnipeg.
Speakers could not agree on how many sets of regulations are threatened by red tape reduction — 12, 14 and 15 were all cited — but did agree that listing the former NDP government's moratorium on hog barn expansion will produce more toxins that will eventually wash into Lake Winnipeg.
"We're not opposed to raising pigs in Manitoba," said Hog Watch head Vicki Burns, but it must be done humanely and without harming the environment.
"We haven't seen the improvements in Lake Winnipeg we need to see," said Eric Reder, campaign coordinator for Wilderness Manitoba.
NDP environment critic Rob Altemeyer accused Premier Brian Pallister of copying Stephen Harper's playbook, by packing so many issues into an omnibus bill in hopes some would slip by unnoticed.