Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lana's Response to the Throne and Budget Speeches.

L. Popham: A vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

These are interesting times we live in. When I think about our challenges as a province, as a country and as a planet, I feel a sense of urgency that never leaves my mind for a second when contemplating solutions. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

One thing I know is this. It's a time to be brave as politicians, a time to think about our collective vision and to be progressive. This sense of urgency is not unfounded as there are prompts all around us — pine beetle infestation, drought, weather pattern changes and crop failures. All the signs are there, if we take care to notice. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The debate on the reality of climate change should be over. Climate change is a fact of life for us, but there seems to be something going on at the provincial level with regards to climate change politics. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Climate change is not here for political advantage, but it seems that climate change is being used like a pawn in a game that fails to recognize that the consequences are catastrophic. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I believe in a sustainable province and that we have what it takes to survive and to adapt to the changes we will undoubtedly see. My choice to run as a New Democrat was made because I know that my personal values and beliefs and vision will be given a chance to grow, develop and strengthen as conversations unfold. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

In tribute to Saanich South, I will do my best to bring a fair-minded attitude into this House, but I will also fight hard for the things that are critical. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Being elected on May 12 was a gift from the constituents of Saanich South, and it's a responsibility that I can't take lightly. The incredible weight of this responsibility fell on my shoulders soon after May 12, and it will sit there as a reminder of the privilege I've been given as I make my way through the next four years. My sense of responsibility is strong, and it will guide my decision-making. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1625]

I have lived in British Columbia most of my life, and I have lived in Saanich South for 13 years. I have been working hard in our community and have spanned my commitment and dedication across urban and rural issues. I come into provincial politics with the background, the passion and the energy to make sure we don't lose what we value so dearly. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Saanich South is an urban and rural constituency, and our residents have a keen appreciation for the quality of life. Over and over during the election, at many of the 6,500 doors I knocked on, I heard what quality of life means in Saanich South, and I wasn't surprised. It means not taking anything for granted when making decisions, and it means not thinking with a silo mentality. Our environment, our education, our health care, our arts and culture, our agriculture, our oceans and our sense of community — that's what's important to Saanich South. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We're at a time when we can't make decisions independently of one another. We can't make decisions regarding education funding without considering the effects it will have on our future economy. We can't make decisions about zero-emissions transportation infrastructure or lack of it without considering climate change. We can't make agricultural policy decisions and food-standard policy without considering the effects on the future costs to health care. Everything is connected in some way. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

As the MLA for Saanich South, I will work as hard as I can to protect our quality of life and to secure our children's future. That's the commitment I made. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

A Saanich South resident and respected climate change expert, Guy Dauncey, warns us that the reports we hear, the statistics conveyed and the penalties we will pay for being too slow to respond are underestimated. We are facing serious societal-changing outcomes. But Guy Dauncey also gives us hope. He tells us that there are things we can do every day that will help us fight climate change and to adapt as well as possible to the changes coming our way. But those everyday actions are not going to be enough, he adds. We need to see some big moves. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[C. Trevena in the chair.]



As a newly elected MLA, I am wondering. Are we brave enough as members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to look partisan politics in the eye and ask ourselves this: are we all making decisions for the right reasons? Do we have the capacity as leaders to make choices that will enable our fight against climate change? Are we willing to consider the bigger picture and guide our province into a place where we will be able to contend with the changes to come? Are we committed to finding solutions and supporting legislation that focuses on sustainability every single time? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I have been given the role of Agriculture and Lands critic. This appointment was one that I had been hoping for from the first time I entertained the idea of becoming an MLA. Once the appointment had been made, I felt my sense of determination galvanize. I realized quickly that my passion for cooking, local food, local food production and sustainability had a new home. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It's a critical time for food production in British Columbia. Never has there been a time when food and politics have so dangerously crossed paths. This is a time when we should be embracing local food production, should be encouraging local growers, building up our productive land stock. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The possibilities with this portfolio seemed very hopeful to me, because for the first time in a long time, we have public awareness and public support for local food production. But then came the throne speech. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It was a grand day. I took my seat in the Legislature for the first time last Tuesday. I waited in anticipation and watched with great interest as the proceedings began. And then, there it was. It was right in the throne speech. The cupboard is bare. It was in reference to our provincial coffers, but to think that the government would use a food reference is interesting, as this is the government who has beaten the budget for agriculture into the ground and continues with this current budget. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Using an analogy to food is quite appropriate, because when there's no food, nothing else really matters. The difference between an empty coffer and an empty cupboard is this: if our food supply is threatened, we don't have the option to run a deficit for four years. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Because of this it's critical to plan ahead, to develop a sustainable agriculture plan, a sustainable aquaculture plan and a food security plan. Instead, all we see is the lowest support for agriculture in Canada, a slow if not non-response to the collapse of our wild salmon stocks and policies that are halting local food production. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1630]

The throne and budget speeches failed to address our food supply, and that was, for me, a grand disappointment. Jamie Oliver, an English chef and media personality and an ardent campaigner against processed foods, lends us an interesting reflection from one of his cookbooks. He says: [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

"For thousands of years…we farmed reasonably, respectfully and in harmony with nature. But now, with our clever technology, computers and busier lives, we have moved further away from…home-cooked food.

"Who would have thought, all those decades ago, that we would be able to buy prepacked portions for dinner, complete with a steam valve and excessive disposable packaging? Things like this would have been considered science fiction, an impossibility; yet now it's everyday life.

"Of course, all of this has resulted from a demand from generations who haven't learned to cook. Imagine our great-grandparents' amazement at the choices of ingredients we now have from places like India, the Mediterranean and China. Yet at the same time, they would have wondered what the world had come to if they read the advertisements in farming magazines explaining how to make animals gain more weight by making them retain more water.

"Imagine what farmers in the old days would have thought of today's battery farming practices. They'd have told you it wouldn't be allowed to happen. They'd have told you it would never happen — housing birds together, with no room to move."

Jamie Oliver is insightful and is fighting hard for food security in the U.K. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Our health care system is becoming overrun with avoidable illnesses. One of the most avoidable is type 2 diabetes. This is the breakdown of our food system rearing its ugly head. We have generations now who have no connection with what they consider food and where it comes from. We are seeing the ill effects of what overprocessed, nutrient-deficient, fat-laden, salt- and sugar-laced food is producing. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It's ironic that the word "food" has been removed from the title of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Ironic, but it's fitting in a way. There's a disconnection between food and agriculture right now. I would like to see that word reinstated in the ministry title, and I hope that the Minister of Agriculture and I can sit down and talk about that. So far, all of our dealings have been pleasant and hopeful. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We have to ask ourselves where we're going with agriculture. What's our vision? Are we moving blindly towards centralized food production that only has a few main players? Do we want a system that is fraught with risks to our future? Are we supporting a system that allows our food animals to suffer for the sake of the bottom line, as is the case inside industrial feedlots? What is this system that is forcing us to lose control over our plant seed stocks, handing control over to ill-intentioned corporations like Monsanto? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Is this the direction we want to go, or is it time to re-establish our local food systems, create a sustainable and more self-sufficient British Columbia? Does this sound too quaint, on the other side of the House? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

In B.C. our local farms and farmers are disappearing at an alarming rate. On Vancouver Island we produce only about 7 percent of what we need, and in British Columbia, B.C. farms produce only 48 percent of what we need. Why have we lost our way with our essentials for life? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It's hard to imagine a throne speech and a budget that don't mention the importance of food — considering that, regardless of what side of the House we're from, we need to eat from a sustainable food system to ensure a healthy future. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We heard a lot of talk about the international market in the throne speech, and we see a massive reduction in the climate action budget. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We heard talk about the oil and gas industry. It's shocking to me that we would consider supporting one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases, the Alberta tar sands. These tar sands rival even the most polluted cities in China. By entertaining the northern gateway pipeline project, we are compromising our morals and our environmental standards. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

This project has the potential for disaster written all over it. Not only is it supporting businesses that are exceeding provincial pollution guidelines; we are inviting an ecological catastrophe when this dirty oil starts coming down our coast in oil tankers. As politicians, we need to stand together and say no to this type of toxic economy and stand behind the moratorium on oil tankers coming down our coast. We need to stand together on this and show strong political leadership. The only reason to support a project like this is greed. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1635]

Something we didn't hear anything about in the throne or budget speech was the state of our wild salmon stocks. Will the historians of our time look back at this moment and define now as the time when our west coast wild-food fishery collapsed? There has been mismanagement of these stocks. Current practices by fish farms have undoubtedly contributed to the potential complete destruction of wild salmon. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I stand with all of those who consider the protection of our oceans and our fisheries a priority. We must listen to experts like Alexandra Morton, who tells us that our time is up. These are B.C. waters. This is something that defines our history and our future. The fate of our oceans has been put in federal hands. Why are we taking a step back? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It is necessary that as a province, we weigh in heavily and demand that the measures taken are radical enough to avoid the same outcome as the east coast cod fishery collapse in 1992. The approach and the length of time it took to understand and to react to that crisis were too little, too late. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We have to learn from that ecological and economic disaster. With the cod fishery still devastated and with a potential for our own salmon fishery to have the same outcome, we have no time to waste. Do we know the eventual consequence of doing nothing? Do we know what it means when our oceans die? I suspect it wouldn't be good news. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

With that in mind, I will be supporting the people who are the experts — the experts who have nothing to lose by telling the truth. I will be inviting them into our conversations, and I will be asking them what needs to be done. If I was able to make the changes that were needed, I would. But I'm not, because I'm in the opposition. So I'm asking all of you in the government to act as quickly as possible. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I believe that this government would make better decisions if it takes the criticisms and suggestions of the official opposition. We have all come here for our own reasons. We are all here because of democracy. I hope we're all here because we have a vision, and we're developing actions which will help us create a sustainable society. If this is the case, then democracy is alive and well. If it's not, then it's sick. There is no argument that we need to work together for our own survival. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I would not be here if it weren't for the 300 people who volunteered on my campaign. There are too many people to thank today, but I want them to know how much I appreciate all the valuable work they did. Thank you so much. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I would like to thank my campaign manager, Heather Gropp. She is a woman of integrity, and she brought great political savvy to the campaign. This is Heather's third win as campaign manager in Saanich South. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I also want to thank Samuel Godfrey, who did an amazing job on my campaign as the office manager and volunteer coordinator. I feel very fortunate that he is now my constituency assistant. He's smart and hard-working, and I know that he's going to do great work for Saanich South. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Along with my campaign team, I also had the invaluable expertise of former British Columbia MLAs. My "tough questions" debate team consisted of my good friend, colleague and former Saanich South MLA David Cubberley; former Saanich South MLA and cabinet minister Andrew Petter; and former cabinet minister Paul Ramsey. I also had invaluable advice from former cabinet minister Catherine McGregor and former cabinet minister Elizabeth Cull. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Their counsel allowed me to develop my sense of provincial politics. This awareness permitted me to meet the challenges that came my way over the 28-day election period. I will always be grateful for their patience and wisdom. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I would like to acknowledge the fine work my predecessor did in his role as MLA for Saanich South. David Cubberley was successful in his quest to bring awareness to issues such as Lyme disease and anaphylaxis. David is a master of language and always brought a thoughtful and intelligent approach to this Legislature. With his clever use of language came a sharp sense of humour, always retaining respect for this institution in his approach. He is my mentor and my friend, and he continues to be a valuable sounding board for me. I thank him for that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Finally, I would like to thank my family. My husband, Jon, and my 11-year-old son, Kye, have promised me their patience, and I have promised to fight hard for the things that we believe in. We as a family believe in sustainability, and we have made personal choices in our lives that reflect this philosophy. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1640]

I am very fortunate to have a large family support system, including extended family. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for their help, and I want them to know that I will be bringing all of them with me along on this journey. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]