This column was adapted from one of Elbert van Donkersgoed's
weekly radio chats, called Corner Post, which are aired
weekly on CFCO Radio in Chatham and CKNX Radio in Wingham,
Ontario. Elbert is the Strategic Policy Advisor of
the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, which is
working hard to create a more satisfying and sustainable
model for farming in the province. If you'd like to
receive a transcript of Elbert's Corner Post address
each week, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Do any of the issues listed in this column resonate
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3, 2003: Give farmers a chance to identify excessive
bureaucratic processes -- a long list of experiences and ideas
pour out. The Christian Farmers Federation's Provincial Board
had just such an opportunity this week when Norm Miller, Member
of the Provincial Legislature for Parry Sound-Muskoka and
a member of Ontario's Red Tape Commission came to talk about
the Rural Red Tape Reduction Project.
He came away with a good list of excessive bureaucratic processes
- Some government assistance programs - disaster relief
was mentioned - involve so much paperwork that many farmers
have their accountants do their applications. Then, after
spending their hard-earned money on accountants, some farmers
learned that they were not eligible. Straight out of the
gate the programs cost them money.
- Municipalities are discussing regulating pesticides. Is
this third level necessary when two tiers of government
are already regulating pesticides?
- American farmers have access to a greater variety of pesticides
than do Canadian farmers. Why can the Canadian and American
pesticide approval systems not work in tandem?
- Ontario sheep meat is scarce in most of Ontario's major
food chains. Because most of Ontario's slaughter capacity
for sheep is provincially inspected but many of Ontario's
super stores accept only federally inspected meat, New Zealand
lamb dominates super store shelves. Ontario veal producers
have taken to sending their animals to the United States
for slaughter so that they can get an inspection that is
equivalent to Canadian inspection, thus winning shelf space
- Some farm trucks are now caught up in provincial emission
testing regulations. Why must trucks used for just a few
thousand kilometres during harvest be subject to the same
standards as trucks that haul long distances year-round?
- Where was the Red Tape Commission when the proposed overly
prescriptive nutrient management regulations were drafted?
- Farm fresh products-nest run eggs and unpasteurized milk,
for example, that have been consumed by farm families for
centuries-are being regulated out of existence. Is the move
to a sterile environment a wise one? 8. New egg grading
rules make it difficult to give wholesome farm fresh eggs
to food banks. Farmers are being required to put them through
the formal grading process, pay marketing fees and then
buy them back to give them away.
Miller's Commission has a mandate to reduce and prevent red
tape. The Commission, in existence since 1995, does not really
expect its mandate to ever be completed. Why not? Government
agencies are always creating new regulations, and most regulators
are focused only on their own narrow mandates. Little attention
is paid to the cumulative impact when all three levels of
government load on the rules.
For more on the myths about hunger and the Canadian Foodgrains
Bank, a Christian response to hunger visit
- March 28, 2003: Farm
- March 21, 2003: Myths
- March 7, 2003: Europe
Gets Innovative about Farm Subsidies
- February 21, 2003: Seven
ideas for Strong Rural Communities
- February 7, 2003: An
Action Plan for a Fresh Vision for Agriculture
- January 3, 2003: 2002
ag policy changes to have big impact in 2003
- December 13, 2002: Farmers
know ag’s “multiple-benefits”, but wonder
how to make them profitable
November 5, 2002: Intervening
in farm markets for the public good
- October 25, 2002: Standing
up to commodity agriculture
- September, 2002: Wishes
and dreams for Ontario agriculture
Corner Post can be heard weekly on CFCO Radio, Chatham and
CKNX Radio, Wingham, Ontario. Corner Post is archived on the
website of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario: www.christianfarmers.org.
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