Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Give Stan some love

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A batch of environmental groups gathered this morning to say how angry they are that the province failed to extend the hog barn ban to the entire province, not just the central part.Sigh. Come on, guys. You won. The hog barns lost. The province finally did Lake Winnipeg a solid. It deserves at least one little kudo.Until now the province has been pretty much all talk on water. The Tories say it, and they're right. We've got the ban on dishsoap with phosphates, which would be cool except for the fact that it doesn't kick in for two years, at which time the soap makers were going to quit using phosphates anyway. We've also got a flurry of tiny rules that say you can't put your pig poop on this little patch of ground because it's too close to the river. But not until 2015 or 2020, so no worries. And we've got the nutrient management regs, which nobody but KAP and a couple scientists understand.Now the province finally gets serious, catapults beyond what the CEC even recommended and caps hog barns in the parts of the province where they are unequivocally out of control. Granted, they're being kind of machiavellian by hoping the crappy market culls the barns down to a manageable size.But still, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers probably has cauliflower ear from all the crabby phone calls he's been fielding from hog farmers. They are really, really mad.So, green folks, give Stan a break and acknowledge that the province has finally taken leadership on an issue after eight years of dithering.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first covering city hall and then the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter. Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school. She has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category.

She was a Southam journalism fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College in 2012-13, where she studied indigenous issues, urban planning and political science. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists and has served on several boards.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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