Editorial by Doug Campbell, District Director
Published in the Charlottetown Guardian, February 22, 2017
The National Farmers Union (NFU) is supporting the organization, Rural Strong, in their opposition to the closing of P.E.I. schools. Rural Strong makes it clear that losing schools means losing Island communities.
Rural communities are especially vulnerable, given governments’ long-time neglect of appropriate development for rural areas.
For the NFU, rural consolidation, with little concern for the well-being of communities, has been going on for decades. Since the 1970’s it has been a fight to keep rural schools open. Each time the issue has raised its head the people have spoken out strongly, but in spite of that we have seen a needless number of invaluable schools lost. It has been shown that this current effort will save very little money, as if money is the only thing to consider when dealing with the lives of youth and the health of the community. There comes a time when government must listen to the people. Hopefully now is the time.
Our organization saw from the beginning that consolidation of land and the rise of corporate control of farming were closely tied to other policies of centralization. The reduction of farm families in P.E.I. has contributed to the decline of rural communities. Now is the time to stop the bleeding of rural P.E.I.
The current government has to admit that they cannot continue to ignore the voice of the community. Aware people will not forget before the 2019 election the false reasons for proposing school closures and other related actions or inactions.