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The Land Matters Project is the province’s latest venture into land policy reform. Its stated purpose is to “modernize“ land-related legislation and policy. To modernize is defined as “to adapt to modern needs or habits“.
There are no clear reasons provided to support any compelling need to launch this exercise. I’d suggest that what does need meaningful modernization is the relationship between the province and the potato processing industry.
This relationship manifests itself in many ways. Non-compliance with current legislation is rarely, if ever, penalized. Downstream culpability and responsibility for ongoing environmental degradation is not actively investigated. Those many producers who employ progressive, environmentally sound practices are not adequately compensated for doing so.
The industry maintains this relationship with its commitment to economies of scale and promotion of it simply being too big to fail. It keeps government compliant through the spectre of deep pockets litigation, political blowback and ultimately, the threat to close up shop.
As farm gate receipts dwindle, outstanding debt increases, family farm numbers plummet and environmental costs pass that which could ever be mitigated, what musters as standard operating procedure must be reinvented. The logical first step would be to generate the political will to recognize the intent written into existing legislation and commit the resources to enforce it.