Well the journey continues and some interesting events happened since I finished Of Pork and Potatoes. On October 9 2020 I emailed our MLA Ralph Eichler. Ralph is the Minister of Economic Development and Training in the Pallister Conservative Government. I told him that we were ready for a meeting and asked him to get in touch with us. In early November reporter from the Stonewall Tribune, Evan Matthews, was at Muddy Wood Council meeting and the Ombudsman’s report was mentioned. Evan had done several very good articles about the situation with the hog barn and I am impressed with his work. I wrote a scathing commentary on the ombudsman’s report for him and as usual he wrote an excellent article which appeared in the November 5 edition of the Stonewall Tribune.
The next day Ralph called me to discuss the possibility of the meeting. I also wanted to meet with the Minister of Conservation and Climate, and when Ralph suggested we should include that minister, I jumped at the opportunity. To me this was a very good sign because the Minister of Conservation and Climate could order a count done and we had evidence that this had happened in Manitoba in another operation in 2019. When Ralph got back to me he said that he and the minister were so busy that he couldn’t organize a meeting with the two of them and us and suggested he would meet with us alone. I thought there was no hurry and perhaps we could organize the meeting after Christmas. He agreed saying that things usually slow down in January and we left it at that.
About the third week in January I contacted Ralph and asked to meet with him and the minister. He said that he would meet with us but the minister was not available and so we set up a meeting for January 28. It was a zoom call and three of us from the Concerned Citizens committee and Ralph were involved. Ralph started the meeting by telling us there was a change in the administration of the Pork Council and there would be a new chair and a new general manager assuming their positions in March. He urged us to meet with them and that that might be a solution to the problem. To our minds this was much of the same old thing, just going around in circles and without accomplishing what we really needed which was to have the pigs at the colony counted. I indicated we’d be happy to meet with these people but that we really wanted to meet with the Minister of Conservation and Climate and request that the pigs at the colony be counted.
At this point Ralph acknowledged that the minister refused to meet with him and us. I was astounded and it really made me wonder about the working relationships of the ministers in this cabinet! I insisted on a meeting and I said I would write to the minister to make a request. I asked Ralph if he supported us in our demand to have the pigs counted. He indicated that he did and on that note we ended the meeting. The following Monday I wrote the letter to the minister which I have included.