Thursday, July 07, 2011

Canadian farmland vs American hedge fund

Local farmers 120km northwest of Toronto have four days left to win their battle to keep farmland and fresh water headlands from disappearing into a US hedge fund's limestone mega-quarry.

If only 3% of  land in Ontario is suitable for agriculture, why should any of it be lost to an open pit mine deeper than Niagara Falls to benefit US investors who acquired the land by passing themselves off as farmers ?


Laura K provides action links and the history leading to the July 10 deadline for the project's approval.
Avaaz has a petition to Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey. Please sign and pass it on.

Locals resisting the quarry certainly have their work cut out for them.
A good local article : High Stakes in the High Country lays out the opposition

The public face of Highland Companies in Melancthon Township is Michael Daniher of the PR firm Special Situations Inc.
"Daniher’s business partner is Paul Curley, a former advisor to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and other Progressive Conservative party leaders. He shares an office with two other agencies, Counsel Public Relations and Counsel Public Affairs. The latter’s president, Philip Dewan, previously the most senior political advisor to Premier Dalton McGuinty, is one of two lobbyists registered to work at Queen’s Park on behalf of The Highland Companies on issues of “agriculture, economic development and trade, energy, environment, transportation and natural resources.”
NDACT, a local group opposed to the quarry, lobbied to have the agricultural land protected as "specialty cropland".
"When the specialty crop designation somewhat curiously failed to win the support of the Ontario Potato Board, NDACT members noted that Bruce Wilson, Highland’s vice-president of farm operations, is one of the board’s directors."

Today's Orangeville Citizen : Highland remains confident in bid for new quarry

In spite of the Ministry of Environment’s (MoE) criticism of The Highland Companies quarry application, the company remains confident that the application will succeed.
and from :
The company’s spokesperson, Lindsay Broadhead, [note : of Hill and Knowlton] said they are aware of the public’s concerns regarding the quarry’s impact on local culture .
“It is important to reiterate that this process is not over. We welcome public scrutiny and feedback on the company’s plan including suggestions about how cultural and heritage concerns can be addressed ...”
she said, without mentioning the 30 heritage homes and farms already bulldozed by her employer. That flattened expanse in the top video? That's them. 
h/t West End Bob

Monday update : media coverage ;
 Global : Thousands of Canadians rally to stop mega-quarry. Good article.


West End Bob said...

Great vids, Alison - Thanks . . . .

Steve said...

Reminds me of the HBO Boardwalk Empire. A chair here and a chair there and suddenly you have unanimous approval.

wondering said...

The Minister of Natural Resources is Joe Oliver not Linda Jeffries. The campaign has someone who is not currently in Parliament! If they try sending that petition it will probably go no where. I've sent them a note about it, but hard to say if they will get it updated, or if they have to start all over again.

Alison said...

Wondering : Linda Jeffrey is the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and as such is responsible for "Ontario's provincial parks, forests, fisheries, wildlife, mineral aggregates, and the Crown lands and waters that make up 87 per cent of the province", and thus the decision on the quarry.

She has asked for public input into her decision on it here.

Many thanks for your interest.

West End Bob said...

wondering: Linda Jeffrey is the Minister of Environment for Ontario, which has jurisdiction of the project at this point.

Joe Oliver is the federal Minister of Environment . . . .

West End Bob said...


(Almost a) Lady Alison already caught that one.

You're so efficient . . . . ;-)

Beijing York said...

Update: Reached Thursday, the company’s former spokesperson, Michael Daniher, said Toronto communications firm Hill & Knowlton took over media relations for Highland due to the “increasing volume and complexity” of the file.

Last time I checked, the petition had over 93,000 signatures.

wondering said...

Ah, my bad. I don't know why I immediately thought it was a federal issue. I guess because the US was involved. Sorry for the alarum.

West End Bob said...


Any time the Excited States is involved, it is alarming . . . . ;-)

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