Tuesday 10 March 1998
Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1997, Bill 146, Mr Villeneuve /
Loi de 1997 sur la protection de l'agriculture
et de la production alimentaire, M. Villeneuve
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Chair / Présidente
Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr Peter L. Preston (Brant-Haldimand PC)
Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre / -Centre ND)
Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North / -Nord PC)
Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North / -Nord L)
Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph PC)
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland PC)
Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale PC)
Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent L)
Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls PC)
Mr Peter L. Preston (Brant-Haldimand PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton PC)
Mr Jim Brown (Scarborough West / -Ouest PC)
Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale ND)
Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall L)
Mr Harry Danford (Hastings-Peterborough PC)
Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes
Mr George Garland, manager, engineering and pedology,
resources and planning field services south, OMAFRA
Clerk / Greffière
Ms Donna Bryce
Staff / Personnel
Mr Michael Wood, legislative counsel
The committee met at 1002 in committee room 1.
FARMING AND FOOD PRODUCTION PROTECTION ACT, 1997 / LOI DE 1997 SUR LA PROTECTION DE L'AGRICULTURE ET DE LA PRODUCTION ALIMENTAIRE
Consideration of Bill 146, An Act to protect Farming and Food Production / Projet de loi 146, Loi protégeant l'agriculture et la production alimentaire.
The Chair (Mrs Brenda Elliott): Good morning, colleagues. We're called together this morning as the resources development committee for the purposes of clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 146, An Act to protect Farming and Food Production.
Are there any questions, comments or amendments to the bill, and if so, to what section?
Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I have an amendment. I may need my glasses here; just a second.
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton): Do you want mine, Marilyn?
Ms Churley: Actually, I just might. I forgot mine.
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): Madam Chair, it looks like a great bill. I think we can pass it and get on with the day.
Ms Churley: The deer and elk people wouldn't like that.
Ms Churley: Yes, I can, actually. I move that clause 10(a) of the bill be struck out.
Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): That's a motion that has already been presented by the NDP.
Ms Churley: Yes, I just moved it.
The Chair: Normally we would go through amendments in the order of the bill. In order to stand down amendments that would come prior to that amendment, we would have to have unanimous consent to do so. There is an NDP motion to subsection 1(1). Donna is just going to bring you over --
Ms Churley: Yes, mine are out of order. Sorry about that.
The Chair: That's okay.
The clerk has a set, and I think everyone should have these, that are organized in order as they appear in the bill.
Ms Churley: That's very helpful. Thank you. I just noticed mine are out of order.
Mr Chudleigh: Does this mean that you've withdrawn your motion on subsection 1(2), or 6(1)?
Ms Churley: Just give me a moment here to get organized.
Mr Chudleigh: Having jumped all the way to 10, I wondered if the other two had been withdrawn.
Ms Churley: Oh, will you just be quiet.
Mr Chudleigh: I'm sorry, are we moving too fast? Apparently we're moving too fast for the NDP.
The Chair: Do you wish to withdraw that first amendment motion and begin afresh?
Ms Churley: Yes.
Mr Chudleigh: Apparently we're moving too fast for the NDP.
Ms Churley: What I should be starting with here is subsection 1(1), the definition of "normal farm practice." We're on track now.
I move that the definition of "normal farm practice" in subsection 1(1) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:
"'normal farm practice' means a practice that,
"(a) is conducted in a manner consistent with environmental soundness and proper and acceptable customs and standards as established and followed by similar agricultural operations under similar circumstances including, where applicable, the codes of practice filed with the ministry of the minister for the care and handling of poultry from hatchery to processing plant, mink, special fed veal calves, ranched fox, dairy cattle, beef cattle and farm animals, or,
"(b) makes use of innovative technology in a manner consistent with environmental soundness and proper advanced farm management practices including, where applicable, the codes of practice mentioned in clause (a)."
The Chair: Did you wish to comment on that amendment?
Ms Churley: I do. I just wanted to make sure that in the context of this bill -- people will recall that in the committee hearings, and I only attended one of those hearings, there was quite a bit of concern expressed about the definition of "normal farm practice." In particular, concerns were expressed that environmental problems could be overlooked and would be overlooked if there was not a more consistent and clear definition right within the bill, within this clause, that redefines what normal farm practice is.
I hope the government members will support this, particularly the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Environment. I believe he needs to set an example here today.
Mr Harry Danford (Hastings-Peterborough): I think there are a number of words added here during your motion. There are two areas I want to discuss a little further. You mentioned environmental soundness and certainly codes of practice. I think as the bill is written you will find there is ample opportunity for the environment to be directly protected through the acts that are already included, that have to be addressed in anything that comes before the normal farm practices board.
Certainly as to the codes of practice, when we were doing our consultation, it was very evident from the stakeholders that they felt it was not necessary to put codes of practice in, that all consideration had to be given to all types of farming which were considered normal and in similar situations. I felt that was a better definition than trying to restrict it to codes of practice. While codes of practice would be considered by the board, they didn't want that the only standard that would be used.
I think for those reasons that the bill as it is written and presented does cover those avenues quite well and I'd certainly be opposed to adding this amendment.
Mr Chudleigh: I would ask a question. The list of animals that has been listed there is incomplete in the extreme as far as agriculture in Ontario is concerned. I wonder if that means that animals that are not listed there are not covered under the act.
Ms Churley: I'd certainly be open to amendments to my amendment to include that.
Mr Chudleigh: The amendment is somewhat incomplete, then.
Ms Churley: If you were willing to support this, I'd be very happy to -- for instance, I believe you're right that it doesn't include pork and sheep, and there may be others that I'd be happy to include if you were to support this amendment.
The Chair: Did you want to add further to that, Mr Chudleigh?
Mr Chudleigh: No. I just think the amendment is poorly thought out and incomplete. I don't think it's supportable.
Mr Beaubien: My comment would be directed at Ms Churley. If she's really concerned with environmental soundness and is concerned about the environment as a whole, as Mr Chudleigh has pointed out, the list of animals is incomplete, but furthermore there is no mention in the amendment with regard to cash croppers, which can impact substantially on the environment, depending on the type of procedures and practices they're using during their farming operation.
I don't know why the amendment proposed by the NDP is there, because if we look at the definition under subsection 1(1) of the bill as it stands today, it's certainly more thorough, more complete. As Mr Danford pointed out, the basis of the bill is that health, safety and the environment will not be impacted, and I emphasize the words "will not be impacted." Just introducing a halfhearted motion doesn't cut it with me.
Ms Churley: It's very clear that the government members don't want to support this kind of amendment. To sit there and quibble with the content of the motion is -- how can I say this in a parliamentary way?
Mr Chudleigh: What's in a motion other than content?
Ms Churley: The intent of the motion; to make excuses and say you can't support it, because it's incomplete, it's badly written, half-formed.
Mr Chudleigh: It's already covered in the bill.
Ms Churley: I have the floor.
Mr Chudleigh: It's already covered in the bill.
The Chair: Order, please. Ms Churley, please.
Ms Churley: Thank you, Madam Chair. To pretend you don't want to support this simply because it's badly written, if you have ideas for improving this amendment, if that is the concern of the government members, I said I'd be happy to accept amendments to amendments. Let's not be silly here. You have no intention of supporting this, because you don't support the concept of making environmental protection an important aspect of this bill. You know, from the hearings you attended, that there was a great deal of concern expressed about the likelihood of this bill opening up the door to some very bad environmental practices. There were grave concerns expressed, in particular about massive industrial pig farming. This was a real issue expressed not just by the so-called special interest environmentalists but by a lot of the small farmers. I believe this amendment I'm making today is a reflection of the concerns we all heard.
Mr Galt: To respond to the concerns of the NDP, I'd point out subsection 2(5): "This act is subject to the Environmental Protection Act, the Pesticides Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act." That isn't just today, in the present EPA and the other acts; it will go on into the future, recognizing any changes in those acts. So I feel very comfortable that the environment will be protected. I simply draw to the attention of Ms Churley that this is in here, that it's well covered, and I think it has been well written. As the Minister of Environment sees need to change this particular act, then the act we're dealing with, under Bill 146, will reflect those changes. It is simply superseded by those acts. I really don't understand the concern the NDP is expressing at this time.
Ms Churley: Just for the record here, let me say that the concerns expressed by people about the environmental aspects of this bill were very clear, and let me be very clear, that the Environmental Protection Act as it now stands will not be able to fill the gaps that are being created by this bill. Furthermore, let me say that the cuts and the deregulation made to the Ministry of Environment by this government mean there is practically no real monitoring and enforcement going on in Ontario right now.
Mr Galt: Wrong.
Ms Churley: To say that you can now rely on just the Environmental Protection Act and the Pesticides Act, and all of that is going to solve the problem, it isn't; you know it, and I know it, just for the record.
Mr Galt: I think the NDP is indicating that the only way to solve things is by throwing money at them. This government does not believe in that philosophy. I really object to her comment that just because a few dollars have been cut and a few people have been laid off, therefore the environment isn't being protected. Certainly priorities have been established, and the environment is being protected. If they think the EPA isn't a satisfactory act, they should have changed it during the five years they were in government rather than sitting there in the last year not doing anything. They had plenty of time to change the EPA.
Mr Danford: To the member who is having quite a concern about the environment -- in fact, she said the environment would be overlooked -- I just want to reassure her that through the consultation, certainly the farm groups, all those people who are involved in this industry, were the first to recognize that they wanted all those acts -- the environmental protection, the pesticides and all those other acts that are listed in the bill -- to take precedence and to be in place to control any concerns that come up under those particular parts. They were quite comfortable, I might say, having them included in this act, as we have before. They do control and they do cover those concerns that may arise and fall within those acts. So I want to assure her that the environment isn't and never was intended to be overlooked and that these acts, in the opinion of the majority of the people, certainly do cover that avenue.
Ms Churley: I just want to make it clear that it wasn't the Environmental Protection Act that I was criticizing. I was criticizing the lack of resources to be able to enforce that act. Let's be very clear on that. The Environmental Protection Act is a good act, but legislation is only as good as the resources and the people who can make sure that the content and the intent of the act is followed. The problem is, the resources under this government are not there to do so. We're seeing that in all kinds of other areas in terms of environmental protection in the province right now.
Mr Galt: I would certainly like to point out to the member that if the debt hadn't been increased by 100%, maybe we'd have the resources today to put into the Ministry of Environment and many of the other ministries. It was their government that doubled the debt and doubled the cost of interest, and consequently the dollars aren't there. They've got to be found someplace. The budget has to be balanced, or down the road we just don't have dollars for any program, whether it be for health or social services or environment.
Ms Churley: At least you're admitting --
Mr Galt: That's where you were taking us very quickly.
Ms Churley: -- that you're not putting the dollars into environmental protection.
The Chair: Order. Dr Galt has the floor.
Mr Galt: I've said enough. She knows where it's at.
Mr Beaubien: I have one last comment. My comment will be directed at Ms Churley. I strongly disagree, with regard to the cut, that there's no monitoring with regard to the environment, because the monitoring is there. I ask you, if you could buy a car at a car lot and buy the same car at a different car lot for $1,000 less -- it's still the same car; it's just that you made a better deal. This government has modified the ministry, no doubt about it, but that doesn't mean you cannot do a little bit more with less, and that's what this government is doing. When we look at the effluents or whatever is happening with the environment, I'll compare our standards with your standards when you were in government.
The Chair: Any further discussion on this amendment? Seeing none, I'll put the question on the motion: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? The amendment is lost.
Ms Churley: Madam Chair, I wanted a recorded vote on that and I forgot to ask.
The Chair: Sorry, you have to call for that before the --
Ms Churley: Can I have unanimous consent to redo it on a recorded vote?
Mr Galt: No, you're wasting time.
The Chair: Unanimous consent is not forthcoming.
The next amendment before us is a government amendment.
Mr Danford: The next amendment deals with clause 1(2)(b).
I move that clause 1(2)(b) of the bill be amended by adding the following subclause:
"(iv.1) deer and elk."
The Chair: Did you wish to comment on that?
Mr Danford: I believe we heard presentations during our committee meetings about the need to distinguish deer and elk farmers. They felt there was a need to be recognized as not associated with game animals and to clarify that position. For that reason, we have decided to add that to this section.
Ms Churley: I will support this amendment. I have a similar one and I believe there is a Liberal motion. This is one that we can all support. But may I say that this is an example of why, when a government comes forward with sweeping changes to legislation, it is important to have public hearings. There was considerable complaint from some government members about the NDP forcing this bill to limited, but yes, public hearings. The consensus among government members seemed to be: "Everybody supports this bill. We don't need to go out and speak to the community about it."
I would say this is one important reason we need to be going out to the community, discussing the bill in detail and finding out where the gaps are. Very clearly, this was a very important one which got overlooked. We managed to identify that and we all support it, and it's a good thing that we were out there in the community and found out about this.
Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): I know this is a good amendment. This issue has been before us for a long time and I know we will be supporting it and glad to do so.
Mr Galt: I'd like to point out one item and then ask a question of the parliamentary assistant. I didn't get an opportunity earlier. Under subclause 1(2)(b)(vi) it does state "any additional animals, birds or fish prescribed by the minister," so they can be added as necessary as we go down the road.
But there was some discussion about whether it should state "deer and elk" or "Cervidae" as a species. For what reason did we go to "deer and elk" versus "Cervidae"? I'm easy one way or the other. I'm just curious about the rationale for the more common name rather than the species.
Mr Danford: You're very correct, Mr Galt. Certainly subclause (vi) does say "any additional animals" and it's there for a reason. There needs to be flexibility. We have an industry that's rapidly changing and new things happening all along the way, and there needs to be that flexibility which we have designed in this bill.
But there was the feeling that there needed to be that distinction of deer and elk so there was not any confusion about whether they were game animals or whether they were considered to be under livestock or whatever. We have identified some other things there and we felt there was a need in this particular case to have "deer and elk" specifically. Otherwise, it would have gone, as you just suggested, under a general aspect. But we did feel "deer and elk" was more appropriate, given the request and the discussion with our legal counsel.
Mr Galt: What about the terminology "Cervidae" versus "deer and elk"?
Mr Danford: We could have used that. In our legal opinion we chose to go with "deer and elk," very simply. I think it more clearly defines the request and I think that's the basis of the decision that was made.
The Chair: Is there any further discussion on this amendment? Seeing none, I will put the question on the motion. Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? The amendment carries.
The next amendment is a Liberal amendment.
Mr Cleary: I move that subclause 1(2)(b)(v) of the bill be stuck out and the following substituted:
"game birds and game animals, including deer and elk, or".
With the way things are changing in Ontario, with many adding value and involved in that kind of agriculture, we felt that should be included in the bill.
The Chair: Mr Cleary, this is almost identical to the motion before and almost identical to the wording of the bill itself, saying, "game animals and birds." Seeing that we've already approved the amendment before, do you wish to withdraw it? It would be considered redundant. The wording in the bill as it stands now is "game animals and birds," and we've just done "deer and elk" in the previous amendment.
Mr Cleary: Okay.
The Chair: Okay? It's withdrawn then. Thank you. Your point of support is certainly noted.
The next amendment is an NDP motion.
Ms Churley: Which I will withdraw.
The Chair: Also withdrawn.
Ms Churley: It's similar to the government motion.
The Chair: We then move to the next motion, also an NDP motion.
Ms Churley: I move that clause 1(2)(b) of the bill be amended by adding "or" at the end of subclause (iv), by striking out "or" at the end of subclause (v) and by striking out subclause (vi).
To speak briefly to this, it relates to concerns about ministerial power to add to definitions such as "agricultural operation," that sort of thing, without legislating amendments. Basically what's going on throughout this whole section, really clauses 1(2)(b), (c), (i), (j) and (k), is taking out references to "as prescribed by the minister." This is reacting to concerns expressed by some and concerns that I myself have about giving the minister too much power. I believe that these things should be done through legislated amendments.
Mr Danford: I would like to bring to the members' understanding that there was a purpose for having that additional clause in there. I'll probably be referring to this a number of times through the process today, because it was clearly identified to us through the stakeholder groups that there needed to be flexibility. This industry, as I've said already, is continuously changing. There are new types of livestock in all cases coming on board and new types of crops and everything that pertains to this bill. We do need to have that flexibility and not have to go back and deal with legislation every time something new comes along.
It certainly would create a great deal more red tape, as we have known, and it's not advisable. We feel it's necessary for that section to remain in the bill. I will be opposing, based on the flexibility that's necessary.
Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): I think you also need to consider it in terms of new developments in farming and innovative technology, particularly with respect to biotechnology. Just imagine if we had to come back and deal with those issues every time a problem arose in that particular area and the minister would not have the flexibility to deal with the issues that arise in these new practices.
I think the section supports sensitivity to development of new crops. That whole area is moving so quickly. This place moves in the reverse mode: so slowly. That's why this particular clause is absolutely essential to respond to new farming techniques and developments.
The Chair: Further discussion or comment? Seeing none, I will put the question on the motion: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour of this amendment?
Ms Churley: Oh, thank you.
The Chair: Let's just check. All those in favour?
Ms Churley: We won that one.
The Chair: All right. All those opposed? The amendment is lost.
Ms Churley: Madam Chair, on a point of order: You called the question and these people clearly raised their hands in support.
Mr Galt: Just one.
Ms Churley: No, two. I saw them. Then you gave them the opportunity to revote. I clearly saw them raise their hands. I think I have a legitimate point of order. If they want to ask for unanimous consent to do it over again, that's possible.
The Chair: No. I think --
Ms Churley: I clearly saw them vote in favour of that motion. I honestly don't understand, within the framework of how we operate here, just because as the Chair -- and you're supposed to be neutral -- you supposed that they made a mistake and allowed them right away to vote again.
Mr Chudleigh: It's going to be a long day.
Ms Churley: They voted for the motion. We all saw it.
The Chair: I think it is very clear how the people wanted to vote on that motion and I believe that motion is lost.
Ms Churley: Madam Chair, if I may say --
The Chair: If you would like to redo it, we can ask for unanimous consent to redo the motion. Do I have unanimous consent to ask for a recount on this vote?
Mr Galt: Absolutely.
The Chair: All right, then. We'll have a new vote on this particular motion. It's the NDP motion on clause 1(2)(b). I call the question on this motion. Shall this amendment carry?
Ms Churley: Actually, no, you don't have my consent.
The Chair: The motion is then lost. We move to the next amendment, also an NDP amendment.
Mr Beaubien: For the record, if we were to take Ms Churley's premise that two of the members voted, there were still four members who voted against the so-called three that she said, for the record.
The Chair: Moving on, this is an NDP amendment before us.
Ms Churley: I move that clause 1(2)(c) of the bill be amended by striking out "and any additional agricultural crops prescribed by the minister" in the fourth and fifth lines. It's the same reasoning as the previous amendment.
The Chair: I'm sorry, could I ask you to reread that amendment, please.
Ms Churley: I'm in the right order, am I?
The Chair: I'm not sure it matched what is before us.
Ms Churley: I read clause 1(2)(c). Is that correct?
I move that clause 1(2)(c) of the bill be amended by striking out "and any additional agricultural crops prescribed by the minister" in the fourth and fifth lines.
The Chair: Thank you. Do you wish to discuss this motion?
Ms Churley: It's the same reasons as my previous reasons, concern about giving a minister, one single individual, this kind of power.
May I add that I'm supportive of the farm community being innovative. I agree that the technology is moving very quickly, but I think we also know that when you venture into new areas, particularly around biotechnology, there can be some very serious implications to the farm community and indeed to food production in our province. I'm certainly supportive of the advancements in biotechnology, but I believe that it is incumbent upon the government to keep a very close eye on the advancement of biotechnology given the possible negative implications which could happen to the production of food in our province.
It's simply a concern that I have around one individual, from any government of any political stripe, not just a Tory government but from a Liberal or an NDP or any other party. I believe it's important that we keep one individual from having too much power. That's why we have cabinet, that's why we have the ability to make legislative amendments, so that it's not happening behind closed doors, out of mind, out of sight.
Mr Galt: I was just going to use the example that roughly 10 days ago the federal government made it legal that you can now grow hemp, as one example of a new crop that's out there. I'm not sure if I'm exactly on, but as an example anyway, here is a crop that we haven't been allowed to grow for 60-some years. It's been illegal because of, I gather, recognizing the difference between hemp and marijuana and the level of drug that is present in it. Now we have a new crop that's legal to grow, a tremendous fibre. I wouldn't want to see the farmers hamstrung, not being able to grow it until we would change our farm practices legislation. It's an example, anyway, of recognizing the changes that are happening currently. We certainly see the number of changes in game animals that are being farmed, fish etc, and the same with crops. Therefore, I could not support this particular amendment.
Mr Danford: I just want to say to the member, I appreciate her support and the recognition of biotechnology, because it does have to be included. It certainly is going to happen and it is happening. I think if we were to not have the flexibility, again, because I use that word, for the minister to adopt some of these things to be considered if normal farm practices are challenged -- all the things have to be allowed under that category. We would deny some particular crops in this case, as we're debating here, if that clause were not allowed to be in part of this bill. For that reason we think it's imperative that it stay there, because it is truly important that every one can be used on the same basis if they have to apply to the Normal Farm Practices Board.
Mr Hastings: I would have to respond that it's not an issue of more power to a minister, because if you look at most acts passed through committee on any issue, you would have wording, perhaps not exactly similar to the wording in (k) but pertaining to the intent of what a minister can do, and such wording you'll find in many acts passed by all sorts of governments of many political flavours, prescribing by regulation. That's a common standard phraseology and methodology that's used. This one simply reflects that same kind of intent and also adds a sensitivity to ongoing and new developments that are occurring in agrifoods.
The Chair: Any further discussion or comment on this amendment? Seeing none then, I put the question on this motion. Shall this amendment carry?
All those in favour? All those opposed. This amendment is lost.
One more amendment on section 1. This is also an NDP motion.
Ms Churley: I move that subsection 1(2) of the bill be amended by adding "and" at the end of clause (i), by striking out "and" at the end of clause (j) and by striking out clause (k). Same reasons.
The Chair: Further discussion or comment? Seeing none, I put the question on the motion: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? The amendment is lost.
Seeing no further amendments to section 1, shall section 1, as amended, carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? Carried.
Moving now to section 2, we have a motion before us that is an NDP motion.
Ms Churley: I move that subsections 2(1) and (2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:
"When farmer not liable
"(1) A farmer is not liable in nuisance to any person for a disturbance resulting from an agricultural operation carried on as a normal farm practice unless there is a charge related to the disturbance pending against the farmer.
"(2) No court shall issue an injunction or other order that prohibits a farmer from carrying on the agricultural operation because it causes or creates a disturbance unless there is a charge related to the disturbance pending against the farmer."
Briefly, this amendment is an attempt to address concern expressed that you heard as well, to try to balance the rights of an individual to protect their property interests and to farm, but to also preserve environmental quality in the face of improper farm practices. There's concern that, the way it's worded now, that could be restricted, so we've reworked this section to ensure that if a concern is serious enough -- criminal charges have been laid, for instance -- the person would be able to pursue civil remedies. The new wording here would ensure that in cases where there is very serious concern the person wouldn't be restricted from pursuing civil remedies.
I do hope the members will support this.
Mr Beaubien: I'm not clear with regard to the NDP motion, number 8. Am I correct in taking it that if a person is charged, without being convicted, the person is prohibited from doing the practice? Since when are we guilty when we are charged? Furthermore, under "Injunctions," (2), since when does the government give the courts direction? "No court shall issue an injunction...."
From a legal point of view, I don't think you're standing on very firm ground here. I'm not a lawyer, but I think this motion is very poorly thought out, first of all, because I think we assume that as soon as you're charged, you're guilty. And now we're going to give directions to the courts? Am I correct in assuming that?
Ms Churley: No, you're not correct in assuming that. What this motion is addressing is people's civil rights. You were on most of the committee hearings, were you not? Oh, you weren't. There was concern expressed about this from some groups and from some of the smaller family farms, that because of the wording of this particular section -- and I think there was overall support for the whole issue around urban people moving into rural areas and then, after moving in and settling in, starting to -- it's quite true it's been a problem and everybody concedes that -- cause trouble, going to municipal councils on what they consider to be nuisances, noises and normal farm practices. We all support changes to that so that people cannot move into rural areas and do that, but there was concern that the wording is too sweeping and that there could be some serious environmental problems.
There was concern expressed around pig farming, for instance, large industrial farming --
Mr Beaubien: I can see your concern.
Ms Churley: -- and that people's civil rights would be completely overlooked, because under this bill they would not have any redress to the courts whatsoever. That was the problem and is what this is attempting to address here. If you have a better way to word it, I'm happy to --
Mr Beaubien: Like I said, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to try to word this, but I think your motion is very poorly worded, because as a layperson I would hate to be assumed guilty once I'm charged.
Ms Churley: But that's not what this is saying.
Mr Beaubien: That's what the motion says. You're giving the courts direction, the way I read it: "No court shall issue an injunction...."
The Chair: If I may interrupt for just a moment, perhaps our legislative counsel might give us some thoughts on this.
Ms Churley: Sure.
Mr Michael Wood: I wonder if I could assist here. I'd just like to point out that the only difference between the wording proposed by the NDP for subsections 2(1) and (2) and the wording for 2(1) and (2) presently in the bill is the addition at the end of each subsection of the phrase "unless there is a charge related to the disturbance pending against the farmer." In order to deal with subsections 2(1) and (2) of the bill it was necessary to preserve the context of the existing bill and in fact what this does is provide an exception, because the bill right now provides a bar to bringing an action and damages under subsection (1) and making an application for injunction or other order from the court in subsection (2). What the NDP motion does is to say that the bar is lifted when there is a charge related to the disturbance pending against the owner. So it is not the case under the NDP motion that the bill would be giving direction to the court; it's just providing an exception to the bar against bringing a civil action or applying for injunction or order.
Mr Beaubien: If we're concerned about human rights and civil rights and everything else, that means that if I'm not too friendly with a police officer and I'm charged, then I'm really in trouble, according to this motion. The interpretation is even worse than I thought it was. As soon as a charge is laid, the farmer or whoever the charge is laid against is in major trouble. So I certainly could not support that particular motion.
The Chair: Mr Danford. Do you --
Ms Churley: Forget it. He doesn't get it.
Mr Danford: Does that mean Ms Churley does not what to hear my comment?
Ms Churley: Well, I'll see if you get it.
Mr Danford: The purpose of the bill from the very beginning is to allow an opportunity to determine when there is a concern presented whether it's normal farm practice or not, very simply not. Not to have exceptions from any of those other acts that we've shown here -- they take precedence over it, there's no doubt about that -- but this is an avenue to be dealt with by a board that determines whether it's normal farm practice or not. Should it not be considered normal farm practice in their determination, then there is certainly no reason it couldn't go to civil. It does not limit it in that way, but it does provide an avenue to be dealt with at first hand by this level to determine if it's normal and would have some bearing on the next step if they chose to go that far. It's to try to keep everything in the form of a nuisance out of civil courts. That was the whole purpose of the bill from the very beginning, not just this bill but the bill prior to it.
Ms Churley: As I said when I spoke to this section earlier, I support the move to try to protect farmers from having these kinds of nuisances that were very clearly identified during the committee hearings and before. I just feel that this amendment is needed because of my concerns about what is considered within this bill and in the definition as normal farm practices. That amendment wasn't accepted. In my view it's going too far and it may be taking away people's civil rights in situations where there is -- I know you don't agree.
Mr Danford: I don't.
Ms Churley: I appreciate your explanation of what you are attempting to do. I just don't agree. I think it's closing the door too much on people's civil rights.
Mr Danford: It doesn't stop anyone from laying a charge.
Ms Churley: I understand.
The Chair: Further discussion and comments? Seeing none, I put the question on this motion: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is lost.
Seeing no further amendments to section 2, shall section 2 carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? It carries.
Moving on to section 3, we have a Liberal amendment before us.
Mr Cleary: I move that subsection 3(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "consisting of not more than five members appointed by the minister" in the second and third lines.
The reason is that, maybe not at the present time, but I know that committees do have a chance to grow from time to time, and we feel there shouldn't be more than five members.
Mr Galt: Am I reading something incorrectly? Mine says "not less than" five members. You're saying to strike out "not more than"?
Mr Cleary: You say "not less"; we're saying "not more."
Mr Galt: You're saying by striking it out?
Mr Cleary: Yes, not more than five members.
Mr Galt: But what's there says "not less than." What you've written to strike out is different than what's in the bill. Am I on the wrong line?
Mr Cleary: The bill says "consisting of not less than five members" and we're saying "consisting of not more than five members."
Mr Galt: But you're saying strike it out in your motion: "I move that subsection 3(1) of the bill be amended by striking out...." Am I reading what you said incorrectly? What you mean is to strike out what's there and then add this --
The Chair: Are we going to amend that slightly then, withdraw it and re-move it perhaps?
Mr Cleary: Okay. Thank you.
The Chair: All right. I think that's what is about to happen; it will be withdrawn and re-moved.
Mr Galt: If it's legal, I'm willing to let him reword it.
Mr Cleary: The bill says "not less than five members."
Ms Churley: Re-read your motion as it's worded now.
Mr Cleary: I move that subsection 3(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "consisting of not" --
Mr Cleary: That's what the bill says. We don't want any more than --
Mr Galt: You want it replaced with your statement, rather than striking out.
Ms Churley: "Consisting of not less than five members."
Mr Cleary: Well, that's what it says now. In other words, we don't want --
Mr Galt: I think what you're trying to say is that you want your recommendation replaced.
Mr Danford: I think we better let Mr Cleary just clarify it. I'm getting confused here about which he wants.
Ms Churley: I move that we take a two-minute recess.
The Chair: There's a motion for a two-minute recess. All those in favour? We're recessed for two minutes.
The committee recessed from 1049 to 1057.
The Chair: Colleagues, we come to order again. We think we have this sorted out here and we'll go back to Mr Cleary.
Mr Cleary: Madam Chair, I would like to withdraw my previous statement and I would like to move that subsection 3 of the bill be amended by striking out "consisting of not less than five members appointed by the minister" in the second and third lines.
The Chair: This is the wording that is in the bill at this point in time. Further questions or comments? Did you want to elaborate on this, Mr Cleary?
Mr Cleary: No. I am just glad that we got it sorted out. We know where the problems were and we'll try to do better the rest of the day.
The Chair: Other questions or comments on this amendment?
Mr Danford: So he's just withdrawing it, is that the idea?
The Chair: No. We do have to vote on it.
Mr Danford: How do you want to leave it then? I think everyone needs to be clear on this.
The Chair: Yes. Colleagues, what has occurred here is it appears we have a drafting error that has been incorrectly copied from the bill essentially, because the bill says "not less than." Mr Cleary has a motion on the floor asking that this section be removed from the bill, striking it out. He has explained why. Are there any further questions or comments?
Mr Galt: If that was to pass, then in my understanding the bill would read, "The Farm Practices Protection Board is continued under the name Normal Farm Practices...," and we would scratch out "consisting of not less than five members appointed by the minister." Then the English isn't very good.
The Chair: To be fair, there is another amendment that comes up next that I believe addresses this change.
Mr Galt: Okay.
The Chair: Correct? I'm not putting words in your mouth?
Mr Cleary: You're not putting words in my mouth.
The Chair: Any further questions or comments on this section? The request is that section of the bill then is to be struck out. That's the motion. I'm going to call for a vote on that motion. All those in favour? All those opposed? It's lost.
That means that the next amendment is then redundant, correct? Oh, we do have to go for it?
Clerk of the Committee (Ms Donna Bryce): Yes.
The Chair: Then there is another amendment that Mr Cleary will propose to this same section.
Mr Cleary: I move that section 3 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
"(1.1) The board shall consist of not more than five members appointed by the minister, at least one of whom shall be a member of the council of a municipality that belongs to the Rural Ontario Municipal Association."
Ms Churley: That answers your question.
Mr Danford: I see some problems with restricting a board to not more than five members, first of all. I think that's a very small number to represent the province of Ontario. We've found from past experience that should sickness or some other reasons occur for those members, and the fact that further on in the bill a quorum has to comprise three, it's very restrictive for it to be only five members. We found that it would not work well as the board at the present time is larger than five, as I think most of you realize, and it has worked quite well, given the difference in the areas and so on, to deal with any issues that come before the board.
The second part of it is that we would designate specifically that someone would have to be a representative of ROMA, the rural Ontario municipalities. It has always been the practice that the makeup of the board includes someone from the municipalities. It is clearly intended to still carry members from that organization, in fact to even increase them through our consultation with the stakeholders and with ROMA and AMO. There's certainly an intention to do that. But I think if we try to list specific organizations as the makeup of the board, then we can find it very difficult.
I would just give you the example that if we list in this case ROMA, as you've requested, then is it not fair to list every other organization that may wish to be on that board and be represented? I think we could find ourselves in a real problem. Certainly when we appoint members to the board, because of our municipal elections and so on those members could be redundant and we could find ourselves in the position on many occasions where we would have to struggle to find someone else to replace someone because of a municipal election. I use that as an example.
Mr Cleary, with your experience and your background, you could surely see what I'm referring to and how difficult it could be to maintain that continuity in the board. So for a number of reasons, I would have a real problem with this. I really couldn't support it.
Mr Cleary: I can understand what you're saying there, but everywhere we go now, with changes in boundaries of municipalities and towns and everything being taken over under municipal councils, the people across the province in the rural agricultural end of it are worried about being left out and not having the representation that they've had before in rural Ontario.
Mr Danford: We all recognize that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs deals with this. I think they take the considerations and the concerns of the rural public into account as well. Any minister, regardless of whatever government stripe, would have to address that and make sure that was in place as well.
Because of some of the other reasons I mentioned earlier, it would be very cumbersome and we would not have the continuity to address those normal farm practices and the concerns that may come before them if we had to be continually replacing someone because of all the reasons I mentioned before. It would be very difficult to work under those circumstances, and to designate one particular group that would form part of that board it would be imperative that we'd have to name other groups as well. I think it just becomes beyond reason.
The Chair: Further discussion or comment? Seeing none, I put the question on the motion: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? The amendment is lost.
Seeing that there are no amendments to section 3, shall section 3 carry? All those in favour? Opposed? It carries.
There are no amendments to section 4 or section 5. Shall section 4 and section 5 carry? All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.
Section 6: We have an NDP amendment.
Ms Churley: I move that subsection 6(1) of the bill be amended -- I'll fix the typo there -- be struck out and the following substituted:
"Normal farm practice preserved
"(1) No municipal bylaw that comes into force after this act comes into force applies to restrict a normal farm practice carried on as part of an agricultural operation."
Although I know technically I have to read the next amendment, which is subsection 6(17), into the record and have it voted on after, I will speak to these two amendments at the same time because they're connected: subsection 6(1) and subsection 6(17).
Both of these are dealing with the immunity agricultural operations will gain from municipal bylaws through this act. I think the major concern here is subsection 6(17), in fact, which enables farmers to challenge bylaws that were passed even before the idea of Bill 146 was publicly discussed or disseminated. As such, we've removed these subsections, that they not apply to the bylaws that came into force before this act even came into force. That's the concern there, the bigger concern. That's why I have put in both of these amendments.
Mr Galt: To the parliamentary assistant, some of this has come up in discussion at various times. I'm curious about some of the bylaws you've come across that might create concerns. How big a concern is it out there? I guess I'm trying to get a little more feel. The day I sat in committee this did not come up, but I have heard rumblings out there. I just wonder if you have some examples whereby it's wise that they be struck down. I'm just looking for a little information or direction that you've had.
Mr Danford: In response, as you suggested, as on the day that you were there and had an opportunity to listen to the comments, that is the trend. There have not been a lot of bylaws that have been passed previously that would come under that and cause a conflict. But in all fairness, to be equally fair to someone who has been criticized for not having a normal farm practice, we felt it was necessary that anyone in that category, and everyone, should be able to be dealt with fairly and equitably, whether it was before or after. If there is a concern, they should have the right to come to the board, regardless. It puts all municipal bylaws in the same category. Basically, that's the reason and the rationale for it.
In referring directly to (17), for the benefit of Ms Churley, I think you can appreciate that even while we're going through the process that we are today and leading up to when we hope the bill will be proclaimed, there is an opportunity there for bylaws to be presented by the municipal council to put in place, and if they were not able to come before the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board, that would jeopardize those farming organizations. In order to create a level playing field, we had to have that in there to put everyone on the same basis, because I think you can see what the possibilities could be. There could be many municipal bylaws implemented in a very short period of time and therefore not be able to be dealt with through this avenue, which is the purpose of it. So that's the reason basically for (17).
If we go to 6(1), it simply says, "No municipal bylaw applies to restrict a normal farm practice carried on as part of an agricultural operation." It simply means all bylaws, before or after.
Mr Galt: There was just one bylaw that came to mind as this came up. It was in a township where they passed a bylaw to end or stop or prevent the spreading of sewage sludge on the farm lands in that municipality, or any lands in that municipality, which really limited what the local urban centre could do with their sludge and really was not consistent with the various farm practices boards that were meeting at the time, and certainly developing or evolving into a normal farm practice. That was one that came to my mind. I'm not sure if that municipality still has it in place or whether they finally dropped it from encouragement by the Ministry of Environment, but it is one example whereby you can see where this bill would override it, understandably so, for the rights of the farmers who want to use such a material to enrich the farm land.
Mr Danford: If I can be a little more specific, when you first asked your question there was reference made to, for instance, lids on a manure storage pit. It may or may not be necessary, depending on the circumstances. It could be considered, not necessarily for other reasons but from a safety point of view. So you have to deal with that as it occurs in an area or whatever, but I just use that as a suggestion. You did ask something specific, so that's one thing that comes to mind through our consultation.
Ms Churley: Just to pursue this, I don't think I was at the hearing where the sewage sludge issue came up, so I don't know the background to this. I don't know why this particular municipality would have banned it from being used. I do know, however, that that is a good example of why I put this amendment forward. It may be that the municipality came to the conclusion that there were, I don't know, heavy metals, lead, zinc, whatever, within that sewage sludge and took it upon itself to make a decision to protect the people of that area from that kind of consistent toxic chemical going into the soil and therefore into the food chain.
I don't know if that's the situation in this case, but I do know that is one example where, having come from municipal council at one time, and many of us have, what I have found, frankly, is that often municipalities are ahead of larger governments in terms of environmental protection, for obvious reasons. The smaller government is closer to the people.
I'm saying this in fairness. I understand why you're doing it and I can see reasons why you're trying to protect the farmer here in this case, but I think your example actually is one where it's a toss-up. It could work the other way, where you have a government that is not paying a whole lot of attention perhaps to issues around, say, sewage sludge and the content of that. There might be newer evidence that this municipality has about the content of that and the long-term implications, but the government hasn't caught up yet to that kind of information and is slow to move on it. I'm concerned about that possibility of a municipality being ahead on some of the issues and being stopped from protecting the health and environment in their own area. So that's my concern about it.
Mr Galt: If I may, just a minor correction. It was a bylaw I was aware of. It didn't come before the hearings when I was there. Very minor.
The other thing is, certainly all sewage sludges have to be tested prior to being spread, so it's being monitored constantly. It's a requirement of the municipality to have it tested. There should not be a risk of things such as heavy metals etc when this is being properly carried out as required under the EPA.
Ms Churley: I understand that it has to be tested, but I am also saying -- and this is an issue that I know. I do know about sewage sludge because of Ashbridges Bay, which is actually in the Beaches riding but it impacts on my riding. There are different opinions, as you well know, within the environmental community and throughout industry and government about what levels are considered safe, and that constantly changes; for example, in my riding of Riverdale the lead issue many years ago, where children suffered from learning disabilities from high lead levels in their blood. For many years the official number that was considered safe for lead in our blood was much higher than it is today because at that time governments accepted from the scientific community what was considered to be a safe level. As it turned out, tragically, that level was way off and children literally were being brain damaged. This is all documented: very tragic consequences.
I was not a municipal politician then; I was an activist. By the time we got governments to pay attention -- and we've all been there, right, before we got here? -- and listen to us that these levels were no longer considered to be applicable, these children had already been damaged, after years of lobbying and struggling. But we got our city council to pay attention first and to believe us and to do the extra studies that were needed, to stop and to do something about the lead plants.
So I think my point is still well taken, that just because there is now on the books an acceptable level of what kinds of heavy metals etc are in that sludge, it does not necessarily mean that it actually is safe. I know we could argue all day about this, but that is still my concern.
The Chair: Further questions or comments? Seeing none, I put the question: Shall the NDP amendment carry? All those in favour? Opposed? It's lost.
You have a second amendment, Ms Churley. You've already spoken to that. Would you please read it into the record.
Ms Churley: I move that subsection 6(17) of the bill be amended by striking out and the following substituted:
"(17) This section does not apply to bylaws that came into force before this act came into force."
I've already spoken and we've had a discussion around this, so I'm happy to vote on it.
The Chair: Is there any further discussion to this amendment? Seeing none, I put the question: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed?
Ms Churley: We won that one.
The Chair: No, there are four hands up. It's lost. Sorry.
Shall section 6 carry? All those in favour of section 6? All those opposed? It's carried.
Section 7 and section 8 have no amendments proposed. Shall section 7 and section 8 carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? Section 7 and section 8 carry.
Section 9: There is a Liberal amendment to section 9.
Mr Cleary: I move that subsection 9(1) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:
"(1) The minister may issue directives, guidelines or policy statements in relation to agricultural operations or normal farm practices.
"(1.1) Within 90 days of issuing directives, guidelines or policy statements, the minister shall publish them in the Ontario Gazette.
"Compliance by board
"(1.2) The board's decisions under this act must be consistent with the minister's directives, guidelines and policy statements."
The Chair: Did you want to comment on, discuss or speak to this amendment?
Mr Cleary: Not really, thanks. I think it's explained.
The Chair: All right. Further questions or comments?
Mr Danford: In reference to this, we felt the way this section is written in the act is certainly adequate. Certainly there has been no intent by the minister to not issue directives, guidelines or policy statements and be clearly up front, and they have been available at all times. We think it's necessary, of course, that all those things are available to the board, that when concerns come before them, they have access to them. I know that has even been suggested by the groups that were involved that said there was no concern about whether these things were being followed or not. They felt they had been followed adequately, and they had no concern that they would not be followed adequately in the future.
It does create the onus of putting it in the Gazette. I think that's the main intent of the whole motion, because most of it is fashioned with the same wording as we have except for that one extra sentence, I guess you'd say. We don't see it as having any change in the way business has been done within the ministry and for direction. We think the way the bill has been written at this point does cover it quite adequately.
The Chair: Further questions or comments? Seeing none, I put the question: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? This motion is lost.
Shall section 9 carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? Section 9 carries.
An NDP amendment to section 10.
Ms Churley: I move that clause 10(a) of the bill be struck out.
The reason is the same as for some of the other amendments: ministerial power to alter the definition of "agricultural operation."
Mr Danford: I think to allow this amendment to go forth would restrict the flexibility I have mentioned. I have used that word probably quite often, but I do believe that in the industry we need that flexibility and I think without that being in there we would be very much hampered and the intent, the purpose and the benefit to the agricultural community would be affected. We think it's necessary to leave that in there and not create another level of red tape and so on, which certainly is not the feeling of this government nor, I might say, the industry. They felt it was necessary as well. For those reasons, I'll certainly be opposing it.
Ms Churley: Can I ask a question to the ministry? For instance, around the issue of large industrial hog farming, could the minister within that context redefine or define "agricultural operation" without any kind of cabinet discussion or any kind of legislative -- behind closed doors? My understanding is that there is concern about the minister having that much power and there is concern about some of the new farm practices that are coming forward, particularly around the huge industrial hog farms. All members heard that. I believe there are two concerns. One is giving the minister that much power, but around some of the I think very real concerns about the growing huge industrial farming. Some of the small farmers are worried -- this is my impression anyway -- that these kinds of changes can be made behind closed doors without them knowing about it and could impinge and affect their smaller operations.
Mr George Garland: I'm not too clear with regard to the question. From the one standpoint, I know there are some perceived problems out there which certainly came out during the hearings with regard to industrial-sized operations. I think the key we have to look at here in all these issues between the small and the large is that the large in some people's minds may in the future be even smaller than what we think they could be right now. So I think you have to look at it from the standpoint that the minister would have to be very careful with regard to doing anything here without consultation, if that's partly what you're getting at.
Ms Churley: Yes, it is. It's the behind-closed-doors scenario here that I have concerns about. When a minister can make decisions, then it's up to the minister to have public consultations -- or not. That's why I have a lot of concerns about too much ministerial power to be able to do that.
Mr Garland: To try to answer your question, I think it would be in the minister's best interests to certainly be consulting with the various stakeholders out there on that issue. We know that with the current farm groups there is even some variation of what they consider to be large.
To help with maybe a concern of yours as well, large does not necessarily mean that it's bad. I think there is a lot of effort out there by farmers attempting to do all the right things from an environmental and a land stewardship standpoint. If they are taking care of those details, of such things as -- if I just may for a moment here, there is an effort right now on nutrient management planning. They're keying in on three areas, and one has to do with the separation distances between manure storages and livestock facilities and other land uses. It's getting involved with appropriate manure storage sizing and then of course it is the actual application of the manure and utilizing it with crops.
I think all those types of things are being handled in a responsible way, and just because it's large doesn't mean that they are going to be irresponsible.
Ms Churley: I know we're on the last amendment and I won't keep us here much longer. I appreciate your answer. There are different opinions, as you know. You feel strongly that it will be done responsibly and large doesn't necessarily mean bad. I heard from many small farmers, which is again one of the reasons our party asked for a hearing -- as you know, there is all-party support for this bill -- some very serious concerns, particularly from some of the small farmers. They have seen and have documented problems that have happened, which I'm sure you know about, Mr Garland, of large industrial pig farms in the United States and Europe where it has not been done responsibly.
In fact, I just heard on the news, in the middle of these hearings or towards the end -- I forget which state it was; you may have heard this -- there was a huge manure spill into the drinking water supply of a rural area and this particular operation got fined a large amount of money but the damage was done. As we know, this has happened in other areas in the United States as well, and Europe. We had discussions at the committee level around: "This is not going to happen in Ontario. Don't worry. Be happy. We're all responsible. We'll take care of it. We won't let it happen."
I think we have to give legitimacy to those small farmers who have been there for generations who feel that this bill, as it's worded in certain sections, does not protect their interests. I suppose they are a special interest, but this is not just the so-called special interest environmental groups talking. These were very serious concerns raised based on experiences in other jurisdictions.
I would just like to say that I appreciate the opportunity -- I think all of us do, from all sides of the House, who had to go out -- to go out into the community and hear from people and let them have their say. Certainly we are now aware that those concerns are out there. Obviously the government has not agreed to any of my amendments, but I would ask that you do be vigilant and be concerned. It has happened in other jurisdictions, and if you're not vigilant within the context of this bill these things could happen. I think you would agree with that. They could happen if the farm community itself and the government are extremely responsible in terms of how these operations are set up.
Mr Danford: We recognize the concerns you have too. I guess I could go so far as to say that, being considered a small farmer myself, I also have concerns. The industry as a whole, whether you're large or small, has an appreciation for the environment. I honestly believe that no one has more dedication to maintaining that environment because it is their livelihood. That's where stewardship of the land and so on comes in and all those other things. But it was clearly stated to us from the very beginning, regardless of the level of participation as far as the size of their operation is concerned, that they all wanted the same thing and they all had to adhere to all the controls that are already there, as we went through the bill.
Some of the examples you mentioned this morning are a real indication and something for us to make sure never happens here. We have to monitor all of those things, and that's even more of a reason for us not to have it happen here, when we see what could happen. All I can do is assure you that those things have been taken into consideration, and some of the things that George has mentioned certainly are in the process, with the industry and the ministry working together.
George, I don't know if you want to add anything to it or not, but I think it is important, because it is a concern that affects everyone, and we all share that genuine concern.
Mr Garland: If I may just continue on to try to give a little bit of further assurance here, again, I think this is what makes Ontario a little bit different from some of the other countries and perhaps states too. The farmers are being quite proactive here in establishing -- again, most of the time it seems to come down to dealing with pollution of water and it's tending to come from livestock manure, so they've got quite an effort right now. They did consultation actually in the last couple of weeks, going around the province trying to get input on their strategy of how to handle this nutrient management plan. They will be coming out in the next few weeks with that plan. I think Ontario stands out here in that they believe in this process, and also, to help out here, if anyone is polluting, they do want them to be held accountable.
The Chair: Further questions or discussion? Seeing none, I put the question to a vote: Shall this amendment carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? The amendment is lost.
Shall section 10 carry? All those in favour of section 10? Opposed? It carries.
There are no amendments to sections 11, 12 or 13. Shall sections 11, 12 and 13 carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? Sections 11, 12 and 13 carry.
Shall the long title of the bill carry? All those in favour? All those opposed? It carries.
Shall the bill, as amended, carry? All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.
Shall I report this bill, as amended, to the House? All those in favour? Opposed? It carries. I shall report it to the House.
Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our clause-by-clause discussion of Bill 146. I thank you for your attention to this matter. We shall reconvene at the call of the Chair.
The committee adjourned at 1133.