Friday, August 8, 2014

Bill 24 consultations ignore voices of farmers

Dear Saanich South,

I'm writing today from Cranbook, where I am attending another one of the government's sham "consultations" on changes to the Agricultural Land Commission. The consultations were scheduled for the middle of summer – that’s when farmers are farming. I've heard from many in the agriculture community that they just don’t have the time to participate at this time of year so their voices will not be heard.

Let’s not forget that 90 per cent of our ALR lands are now open for development because of Bill 24.

If the B.C. Liberals really wanted an authentic process they wouldn’t have chosen the time of year when participation would be lowest. At a minimum, the Minister of Agriculture should extend the consultation process until the end of the year.

As it stands, this process is deeply flawed, and will result in a report and regulation changes to the ALC that agriculture stakeholders can’t even review before it is final.

Bill 24 removed protections for 90 per cent of ALR land, opening it up for development. The B.C. Liberals failed to consult with farmers before bringing in the bill and pushing it through in the spring legislative session.