The people in the RM of Rosser are experiencing first hand what those who opposed Bill 19 understood was the real purpose of the bill. To reduce people’s ability to protect themselves from certain developments contrary to their interests and for municipal councils to properly represent them.
The message is clear. People and their quality of life matters little to the Pallister government. Development and corporate interests trump the needs of rural residents and their ability to protect the use and enjoyment of their homes, quality of life for themselves and their communities and land, air and water quality that sustains them.
While the Rosser situation involves the new right of appeal by an aggregate quarry developer of a council’s rejection of a conditional use application, the Pallister government’s creation of a right of appeal for rejected livestock operation proposals shows the government’s real priority that corporations, not people matter.
In an internal government document I obtained and submitted at the legislative committee hearing, a reason given for changing the rules was to prevent local people from impeding hog industry expansion. The document cites the RM of Oakview’s rejection of a hog feeder barn proposal because of successful community opposition on demonstrably valid grounds.
What to do? Allow the industry to appeal rejections to the government-appointed members of the Municipal Board, but prohibit people from appealing approvals.
As with the RM of Rosser, the RM of Grassland is faced with an appeal of its rejection of the 100 per cent foreign-owned HyLife hog production and slaughter company’s application for a permit to build a hog complex.
Democracy and municipal governments can’t function properly if minority rights and the existing rights and needs of people aren’t respected.
The idea that any development is good development is simply wrong. The collapsing of our oceans and ecosystems globally proves this idea must be abandoned.