Green Party calls for new approach to agricultural prosperity
The Green Party, along with the vast majority of Islanders, wishes to see a thriving agricultural sector on PEI. They also understand that in order to achieve that goal, profound changes are required.
When agriculture minister, George Webster tells The Potato Board "I believe we can carefully expand the current level of irrigation, and I will be promoting that position,” it is clear that he, the department he heads and the Liberal government itself are mired in an old model which is uneconomic for farmers, unsafe for the citizens of our province, and unhealthy for the environment.
“Spending money on high capacity wells is throwing good money after bad. This industry is already too big, too damaging and is starting to fail. Instead of allowing more access to our shared water and more opportunity to devastate our shared environment, we need to work with the Potato Industry to phase out production of this destructive monoculture and move to a more diverse, robust agricultural system,” said Green Party of PEI leader, Peter Bevan-Baker.
The minister said the government will proceed with public discussions leading to the development of a water act with one goal being the opportunity for some farmers to access deep-water wells for irrigation purposes.
“The Green Party believes that we do not need to protect water for industrial agriculture, we need to protect water from industrial agriculture,” continued Bevan-Baker.
There is such a great opportunity for PEI to use what has previously been viewed as our disadvantages – our small size and relative isolation – to vault us into a new, better era. Instead of continuing to try and fail to compete in a global market place, we could, if we wished, create an island with the most progressive environmental laws in North America. This would differentiate ourselves from other jurisdictions and add value to everything we do.
The Green Party believes that PEI needs to make a choice: do we continue down the road of corporate monoculture or do we try something different? We must improve, not diminish the organic content of our soils; protect our precious water rather than pollute and degrade it; produce safe, nutritious food and provide a good living for farmers; preserve our rural communities by providing thousands of good jobs.
“Just imagine how many jobs, how much economic activity, how much cleaner our air, water and soils would be, and how much more prosperous and sustainable our island agricultural sector would be if we make the shift now towards an organic island,” concluded Bevan-Baker.