Many readers may recall the story which appeared in the news media six years ago. (re: CBC news, Jan. 22, 2007, and Winnipeg Free Press Jan. 23, 2007, “Woman Faces 13-Year Wait For Hog Industry Info.”)
Ruth Pryzner had filed for records under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FIPPA) in her attempt to produce an accurate portrait of the provinces’ hog industry.
The growth of which, at that time, was on hold. A moratorium had been imposed by then conservation minister Stan Struthers, pending the outcome of a Clean Environment Commission review (CEC) on the industry’s sustainability. Pryzner, a farmer and former councillor in the RM of Daly, wanted this information so that the CEC would be better informed.
She was told, that she would have a long wait … 13.5 years.
Well ... the long wait is over. The province made changes to the law.
Recently, through correspondence, I have been informed that Pryzner had initially received some information records, but so much of the needed and pertinent information had been blackened out, it was useless. Then, the government retroactively applied changes to FIPPA and Pryzner’s requests to obtain records were thereby nullified.
Systematically, the province has made changes to the law based on their conclusions and arguments that this was necessary, because “soil test results” harmed the competitive position of operations and therefore were not available to the public.
This makes no sense to me either! Information gleaned from the results of soil tests records are not a national security threat.
The public no longer has the right to access certain pertinent information that could assist and be helpful to establish what sources could be contributing to the cause of mass eutrophication of Lake Winnipeg waters.
The seriousness of Lake Winnipeg’s waters is being dishonoured and downplayed as being of little importance. The relationship to the competitive position of Manitoba’s hog industry should not be a conclusive reason to prevent the public from obtaining “soil test results.” Could it be the government is not as sincere about the recovery of our lake, as they say they are, or has their integrity been misplaced?
Is it any wonder that Canada’s sixth-largest fresh water lake has been shamefully titled as the “most threatened” lake in the world?
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 12, 2013