Do you support the ALR?  

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Do you support the Agricultural Land Reserve in British Columbia?

A plan is afoot to pave over almost 600 acres of the most high-quality and best-located agricultural land in the province.

We need your help to stop this.

Our provincial and federal politicians must publicly commit to protect farmland in Delta. In particular, the prime agricultural land close to Deltaport is in peril.

It is true that farming this fertile soil will create far less profits in the short-term than using the land as a transfer station for port container traffic.

But of course that is not the point.

We expect our elected representatives to work for the long-term good.

Protecting the small amount of precious delta farmland that remains is profoundly important to our long-term food security. We need to balance competing interests. There are other locations for port development and other ways to strengthen international trade. There is no need to sell off our farmland.

Watch this short video for my perspective of what is going on and what needs to happen.


What can you do?

  1. Email your MLA with a simple request: show you will preserve the ALR by protecting the farmland near the Deltaport.
  2. Sign the petition created by Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington.
Thank you!

Lana.

Lana Popham
Saanich South MLA & Opposition Critic for Agriculture, BC New Democrats

PS. Only five per cent of British Columbia's land base is productive farmland and British Columbia produces only about half as much food as we consume, with fruits and vegetables being in particularly short supply. According to the latest report from the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, if we continue business as usual, the world will need at least 50 per cent more food by 2030, which is why it is so important to safeguard the province's food supply.

Delta Farmland must be protected! Question Period Apr 16/2012  

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Here is a short video clip of Question Period today in the BC Legislature. I challenged the Minister of Agriculture to do whats necessary to protect the irreplaceable farmland in Delta.

Last week we learned that a prominent land developer - who also happens to be a supporter and generous donor to the BC Liberal party - has quietly signed options to buy 600 acres of ALR land near Deltaport.

His goal is to pave it all over as part of a massive port expansion.

We cannot continue sacrificing our most productive farmland. We need a Minister of Agriculture who appreciates the value of farming and is prepared to fight to protect our best farmlands. Today we got more evidence that we have nothing of the sort.

-L.

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Have wine, will travel  

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Re: Okanagan MP wants to see wine flow more freely between provinces, April 4

Supporting the burgeoning wine industry is an issue that transcends partisan lines in the House of Commons. The work of Dan Albas, Conservative MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, is an important step forward in increasing exposure and sales for boutique vintners from B.C. and other parts of the country.

However, changing federal legislation is one step of two. Amending the national statute creates room for provincial governments to set exemptions. Such exemptions would allow consumers to return back to their home province with wine for personal enjoyment after a trip to a vineyard in the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, the Niagara region or P.E.I., or to order online.

On this front, regional vintners need provincial legislatures to relax rules around purchasing directly from vintners. Experience in other jurisdictions shows that broadening the market for small wineries transfers revenue from provincial liquor boards in the range of one per cent, which can be recovered with growth in tourism and agriculture.

Adrian Dix Leader of the B.C. New Democrat official Opposition

Lana Popham Provincial NDP agriculture critic

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Have+wine+will+travel/6420631/story.html

A few clips from Hansard  

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Last week in the Legislature I debated Minister McRae during the Budget Estimates for the Ministry of Agriculture.


Here are a few clips. The videos are from Hansard and the only editing done was to remove the long pauses between question and answers.

Lana.










Time to stand up for the ALR and protect Delta farmland!  

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In light of revelations that developers have options to purchase agreements on 600 acres of prime farmland in Delta, it is time for the B.C. Liberals to make it clear that the land won't be removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

As Agriculture Critic I have repeatedly spoken out against BC Liberal efforts to weaken the Agriculture Land Commission and strip out prime land from the ALR.

The BC Liberals must walk their talk: if they truly support the ALR, they need to make it clear that this 600 acre parcel will remain in the reserve.

The BC government has yet to take significant action to address raised by the Auditor General in a 2010 report about the ALC. The report noted that “the commission is challenged to effectively preserve agricultural land and encourage farming in British Columbia,” and has showed a disturbing pattern of excluding prime agricultural land from the reserve in the south of the province, replacing it with less fertile land in the North.

Delta North MLA Guy Gentner recently said that this is some of the best farmland in the country and if the Liberals allow it to be taken from the reserve it will strike a concrete arrow into the heart of Delta.

The Delta has already suffered from a wave of exclusions from the ALR that have undermined the ability of the community to retain its agricultural character and support farmers.

British Columbians overwhelmingly support the ALR and want the government to ensure the province maintains the ability to produce local food.

The Liberals have been speaking out of both sides of their mouths on this issue, saying they support the ALR while allowing illegal fill dumping and approving exclusions of some of the best agricultural land in the province. An unambiguous commitment to protect these 600 acres in the Delta would be a step in the right direction.

For more information, take a look at the excellent work on this issue done by Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington: http://www.vickihuntington.ca/content/bc-transportation-strategy-supports-industrial-buyout-plans-south-delta-farmland

Lana Popham, Official Opposition Critic for Agriculture and Saanich South MLA