In my last MLA report, I spoke about Bill 24, a bill that will significantly alter the Agricultural Land Reserve and will lessen our ability to provide local food to our communities. Since the writing of that report, there have been a number of developments. And even as I write this one, I know that by the time it is published there could be many more. Unfortunately, none of the developments so far include the cancellation of this terrible legislation.
When Bill Bennett announced Bill 24, he claimed he had the support of farmers and ranchers across the province, citing the endorsement of the BC Agriculture Council. That support was based on what we now know to be misleading information provided to the Council by the minister. Once the members of the Council read the bill in its entirety, they publicly withdrew their support.
As a result, the current Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick began to make noises about a proper consultation with farmers and ranchers, and maybe even a province-wide town hall to take guidance from voters, but Bill Bennett, with his usual “Bennett knows best” attitude, declared it doesn’t matter what the Agriculture Minister says or what the people affected have to say, the government will pass this legislation as it is currently written without revision or delay.
So, first Bill Bennett misleads farmers and ranchers about the content of the bill to gain their support. And then Bill Bennett says the Minister of Agriculture can consult with people, but there will be no change to the bill. This begs the question: why does Bill Bennett get to make all the decisions?
Bill Bennett is Premier Clark’s Minister Responsible for Core Review. What on earth is core review? Well, so far it looks like an excuse for Bill Bennett to ram through every one of his pet projects with absolutely no care about just how disastrous it might be for British Columbia.
Bill Bennett doesn’t care if we can feed ourselves in the future, but I know you care.
Don’t remain silent while the land that feeds us is permanently lost to development. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com today.
Tell them to get rid of this foolhardy legislation and have a proper discussion about how to increase food security in our communities.
Norm Macdonald is the NDP MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke. He can be reached by phone at 1-866-870-4188 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.