The Grenville Federation of Agriculture selected its new directors at their Annual meeting last week. The directors are; John Ashby, Nick Ashby, Kirstan Bennett, Zac Bennett, Ceiledh Brown, Clint Cameron, Ricky Norton, Jeremiah Stephenson, Curtis Tegrotenhuis, Scott Wilson, Adrian Wynands. The President is Adrian Wynands with Kirstan Bennett serving as Vice-President.
The Federation discussed various topics which impact on agriculture, including the impacts of COVID-19, the availability of personal protective equipment to protect against the spread of the corona virus, the security of food supply chains, the operation of farm vehicles on highways and mental health impacts.
Constable Erin Cranton of the Mobile Crisis Response Team of Leeds County OPP gave a detailed presentation on Bill 156, Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act. Bill 156 is aimed at curbing animal rights activism against farms. It provides for increased fines for anyone who trespasses on farmland or food processing plants.
Animal Rights activist groups have been critical of Bill 156, saying that it will essentially shut down all animal rights activists and make it difficult for them to expose cruelty to animals. They have criticized this legislation saying it makes it illegal and difficult for advocates to expose what is happening behind closed doors.
The OPP presentation to GFA noted that the government respects the rights of individuals to participate in lawful protests and advocacy activities, and respects the rights of people to take part in legal protest in public spaces. The Act makes the following provision; “A police officer, or the occupier of premises, or a person authorized by the occupier may arrest without warrant any person he or she believes on reasonable and probable grounds to be on the premises in contravention,” of the Act.
Constable Cranton also presented on the issue of mental health and provided information on various supports in the region.
The mental health crisis team crisis line for GFA is 613-345-4600 or toll free at 1-866-281-2911. The mobile crisis response team can be reached at 613-345-1790.