A higher-priority promise

B.C. NDP agriculture critic visits Parksville Qualicum Beach

B.C. NDP agriculture critic Lana Popham was in Qualicum Beach on he weekend attending the Seedy Saturday event with local NDP candidate Barry Avis.

If the NDP forms the next government, the issue of food sustainability and the needs of agricultural producers will take a much higher profile, says Lana Popham.

The NDP’s agriculture critic was on hand in Qualicum Beach on Saturday to give her views on what is needed to breath new life into the agricultural sector in the province.

Noting that while she has  been the agriculture critic since she was elected nearly four years ago, the governing Liberals have gone through four agriculture ministers in that time — a lack of continuity she said served to exacerbate the low priority given to agricultural issues in B.C.

“I am in politics because of agriculture,” Popham said. “The relationships I have made with stakeholder groups — farmers, food security believers, restaurants, anyone connected with the food system — took four years. I have dealt with four agriculture ministers in four years. There’s no possible way to know the agiculture ministry and get had around this file without putting in the time. The current government does not have a priority on agriculture. Even if there is no money in the budget to support it, at least they could have kept the same person in for four years for consistency.”

Her plan to revitalize the sector, she said, comes in three parts.

“Step one is Grow B.C.,” she said. “That includes everything we need to do to support the farmer on the Agricultural Land Reserve. We protected it, and now it’s time to incent the farmer to grow on it. We need to make sure the land in the ALR is the land that’s supposed to be there. The Agricultural Land Commission needs to look at  what land should and shouldn’t be in and make sure the boundaries are absolute so, they don’t use their whole budget to deal with applications to exclude land from the ALR.”

As well, she said, the government needs to look at meat regulations to make sure they work for all producers, not just the large-scale operators.

“The second part of the three-step plan is called Feed B.C.,” Popham said. “It looks at the money we spend in our institutions when we re buying food. It would require  hospitals, educational institutions, ferries … anywhere we use provincial dollars to buy food that 30 per cent to be grown in B.C.”

Popham stressed the move would not amount to an agricultural subsidy, as the government would have been paying for the food anyway.

Finally, she said, the NDP would reinstate the popular Buy B.C. program, which she said was one of the most widely-recognized branding systems going  before it was abolished by the current government.

Just Posted

Group raising money to stop Parksville supportive housing project

GoFundMe page has $15.2 K for lawyer fees raised since July 8

Hot stretch leaving Parksville Qualicum Beach homeless in need

Manna looks for water, sunscreen donations

District 69 athletes to compete at BC Summer Games

Opening ceremony aims to inspire, delight and entertain

Cycle of Life Tour seeks donations for hospice society

Riders will cycle 200 km to help keep hospice care in motion

Regional trails closed due to fire hazard

The Regional District of Nanaimo is closing trails within its jurisdictions effective… Continue reading

BC Games: Dance, spoken-word highlights at Opening Ceremony in Cowichan

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

B.C. city wants pot punted from farmland

Concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

Most Read