2010 Budget Says Goodbye to BC Agriculture  


March 3, 2010

VICTORIA- Yesterday's provincial budget is yet more proof that B.C. Liberal MLAs from places like 100 Mile, Kelowna, Kamloops and the Kootenays continue to fail farming communities, says New Democrat agriculture critic Lana Popham.

"The B.C. Liberal agriculture minister claimed he wanted to reintroduce Buy B.C., but all I see is goodbye B.C. agriculture in this budget," said Popham. "Orchardists and ranchers have sounded the alarm, businesses are shutting down and the B.C. Liberals offered nothing, not even an apology, for a budget that promises no new investment in this vital industry."

The Ministry of Agriculture was cut by more than 25 per cent last year and it is being cut by a further four per cent this year and next. British Columbia already invests less in agriculture than any other province in Canada.

"Yesterday's budget offered nothing new for the farming community in British Columbia," said Popham. "There is nothing, no fresh ideas, no solutions for an industry on the brink."

This year's B.C. Liberal budget and throne speech didn't offer any new or expanded initiatives for the agriculture industry, noted Popham, despite the fact that a focus on farming would generate green jobs for the province.

Popham added that the budget proved that the government doesn't have a long-term strategy for economic growth as B.C. starts to emerge from the downturn.

"Yesterday's budget proved that the B.C. Liberals don't have any post-Olympics strategy to help create good-paying jobs and business opportunities. All they have to offer is cuts to economic drivers like tourism and agriculture, and a multi-billion dollar tax shift in the HST," said Popham.

Carole James and the New Democrats are committed to reinstating Buy B.C. and giving British Columbians the right to buy food directly from farmers.