Question Period - October 19 & 20, 2011  


Dear Agricultural Community,

Today, during Question Period, I put two (2) questions to the Minister of Agriculture.

Below, I have posted the text of each question. You can go to the Hansard website to view a video clip, if you wish to witness the full exchange, recorded by Hansard Services.

1. L. Popham: Yesterday I raised the issue about the Agricultural Land Commission report that the minister has had on his desk for almost a year. This week I stood on a farm that has had over 10,000 loads of construction fill dumped on it. This farm is now unfarmable. While the Minister of Agriculture spends his time shuffling his papers on his desk, farm after farm in British Columbia is being covered in construction fill. Will the minister commit today to putting a hold on fill dumping in the agricultural land reserve until the ALC report has been released and a provincial fill dumping strategy is in place?

2. L. Popham: I can tell you it's very disappointing for me to watch the Minister of Agriculture joke his way through question period. I am the critic for Agriculture, and I take this issue very seriously. This minister has kept the ALC report hidden for almost a year. We know — we both know, Mr. Speaker — that the ALC is underfunded. We know that. The enforcement agency is doing the best it can, but it doesn't have the money to do the job. We know that. The public would know that if he released the report. From what I have heard from stakeholders, I estimate that over the years this report has been hidden, as many as one million dump truck loads of fill have been deposited on to British Columbia farms. This minister needs to get to work. While he's sitting on his hands, farmlands are turning into wastelands. Will the minister commit today to a moratorium on fill dumping on ALR land until that report is released and a provincial fill dumping strategy is in place?