The concerns are nothing new. But the province is beginning to listen, Warwick mayor Jackie Rombouts said, citing a conversation she had with Progressive Conservative MPP Ernie Hardeman at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference this summer. Hardeman is Ontario’s agriculture minister.
Farmers did not necessarily score a legal win at the Sept. 4 meeting, settling instead for the official support of county council. After the meeting Sarnia councillor Bill Dennis said he would bring their safety concerns to city council as well.
“I know myself, as a livestock producer, I have concerns,” said George Dickenson, a Lambton Federation of Agriculture member and long-time mental health advocate. “But I’m happy with their response. I’m happy Jackie brought the motion forward. I guess it’s (more about) the response that happens at the provincial level, the legal level.”
“I think they all get it,” added Gary Martin, another Lambton Federation of Agriculture member.
The concerns fall into two categories. Lambton County farmers, already worried about a projected loss in annual crop sales they call “unprecedented,” are worried about their personal safety and the safety of their staff, as well as truck drivers.
Video cameras do not help either, Martin said, not when Internet speeds are spotty (at best) in many places around the region.
The other issue is with the justice system, where McCabe says criminal activity is often overlooked and charges against animal rights activists, like McQueen, are often dropped.
Sarnia & Lambton County This Week