Questions By Members, 18 June 2015
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Groundwater quality

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday in this House there was much discussion on the white paper regarding the consultation process for the water act. I and many Islanders were very pleased to hear that there will be repeated opportunities for Islanders to contribute to the discussion and the decision-making process.

Reluctant though I am to dash the hopes of the Minister of Communities, Land and Environment for a quiet day in the House, a question to him.

Is the minister going to place a high priority on the quality of our groundwater and in reducing and removing contaminates known to pose a health risk to Islanders?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

Mr. Mitchell: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

As I stated yesterday on the floor of this Legislature, yes, this new water act is a top priority for me as a new minister, for us as government, for our Premier as well. This is a process that has been in the works for a little bit. The white paper is almost at its final stages, ready to present. We will proceed, then, with consultations all across Prince Edward Island and all aspects of quality and quantity of water will be worked on very diligently for its protection going forward.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party for his first supplementary question.

Nitrates in groundwater

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Nitrates have been shown to exist in groundwater across this province at elevated levels. Does the minister agree that elevated levels of nitrates and nitrites pose a potential risk to Islanders’ health?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

Mr. Mitchell: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, the hon. member is correct. There have been some occurrences of elevated levels. But we only have to point back to recent work in the Barclay Brook area and how those in the agriculture sector, those in government, all of those groups, have come together to develop new principles, new practice methods, to aid in providing better numbers in that area.

As well, on that particular instance, there was one of the producers that came on board and some land was purchased to increase the benefits of those areas.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party for his second supplementary.

Ammonium nitrate import amount (further)

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In response to a question on June 4th in this House about the amount of ammonium nitrate imported to Prince Edward Island for agricultural purposes on an annual basis, a written response was tabled earlier this week, and it stated, and I quote: Based on current fertility trends and sales within the Atlantic provinces, this province estimates that about 24,000 metric tons of fertilizer will be used each year on Prince Edward Island.

In other words, we don’t know.

Will the minister commit to tracking the actual amount of ammonium nitrate that is imported annually rather than using estimates based on Maritime trends?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, that was reported – there is no duty to report from the agriculture sector of their purchase of nitrates and fertilizers, so that is the best estimate that we were able to come up with between the two departments. As we go forward, the agriculture sector is working diligently in those areas of the four Rs: the right amount at the right time, and will continue to be good stewards of the land going forward, and we will continue to work with them in that regard as well.



  1. Bill Kays 17 June 2016 at 11:57 am

    We all know that we are being poisoned (not so) slowly. It has reached a crisis point as can be shown by the increased cancer rates on PEI. The tourists expect and deserve clean drinking water, even though Islanders can’t expect it. Another thing, I would not trust the governments numbers as you know they are fudged to make gov look better than they really are. What a sad government that does little to protect its citizens. We can have agriculture without the poisons, and we should. Who is going to lead us there?

  2. Bill Kays 17 June 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Gov is not what I would call ‘a good steward’ of the land, far from it. They might wish to be good stewards going forward but they certainly never protected the Island people in the past. Where is our protection? Peter, these Ministers don’t know their portfolios. I would attack them on that. People are dying as a direct result of their inaction to this point. WHEN WILL GOVERNMENT’S PRIMARY GOAL BE THE PROTECTION OF THE HEALTH OF ISLANDERS? Ask government to print off a public list of their priorities and let’s see where the people are on the list.


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