My Side of the Fence

Any Red Tape Changes Since Manitoba Elected a PC Government?

  • Peter de Jong, Author
  • Dairy Farmer, Southeastern Manitoba

Under the last 20 dark years of NDP majority in the provincial government, farmers were bombarded with city people who tell the rural farmers how to treat the environment; meanwhile the City of Winnipeg gets away with dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into our rivers, each year. Labelled as human error; with no penalty to those who make this “grave error”, they get away with it because they are union workers, and the NPD government shut a blind eye. If farmers spill just 5 kilograms of solid manure on the road, they are fined. However, the public servants are spoiling the environment a million times more, without punishment. Does one really think the farmer does this on purpose? It is just a human error. Where is there justice?

If a farmer wants to replace a 60 years old cattle shelter or barn, which is falling apart, the permit process requires a permit which crosses the desks of three or four departments and can take two years or longer for approval. The NDP government sees a cattle shelter as an industrial building, requires design and engineering for a simple cattle shelter or barn.

This all because Mr. Gary Doer hated the hog farmers; putting many rules in place to stop building and expanding operations. He did not realize that all the departments now must follow the rules for all farm activities and buildings; sheep, cattle, bees, donkeys, goats, horses; any barn or shelter must be designed and engineered as an industrial building. This red tape is still in place. How much PST this Manitoba government missed out on, by this reluctant ruling and how much staff is involved in this red tape.

I understand large buildings, such as hog barns, need proper engineering and odor control. One must wonder how in Europe, there are no odors and here in Manitoba, some have. A solution may be with bio-filters from wood chips, which work well in Ontario and Europe;

Back to the topic at hand, why are there no standard building codes in Manitoba for agriculture buildings? Likewise, for lagoon design, an engineer looks at the standards he designs accordingly. The R.M. Offices should consider the building codes and the design, then give permits to build. Instead of going to four departments of Manitoba and taking two or more years for approval if you want to build over 6,000 sq. ft, which is the same as a large house.

Imagine how much more property tax the province and municipalities would generate from easier or simple processes by making a standard building code. How many old buildings would be replaced? How many more farmers would be able to stay in business? Farmers are tired of approaching departments and the R.M. offices, who don’t understand the building codes, and spend another $15,000 to $20,000 with the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC). The OFC wastes time for six months for doing nothing, then look at the same building design that engineers do.

No farmer, I know now, will spend this money and wait two years or more for maybe getting a building permit.

Make it simpler for farmers to build a simple grain shed, shelter, cattle shelter, sheep barn or horse barn or any livestock barn.

There is so much red tape from the previous NDP government left and not much is done to improve it. This is one of the first things to increase revenue of the Manitoba Government; instead of reassessment every two years to collect more taxes from rate payers.

Have a beautiful spring celebrating Manitoba 150 – let’s get some red tape deductions.