The Official Opposition is taking the unprecedented step of convening an Opposition Standing Committee on Agriculture and Food after well over a decade of neglect by the BC Liberal government of our province's agriculture industry.
Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar economic generator that has enormous untapped potential. This is an industry that can unlock prosperity in communities throughout the province.
A Standing Committee could help reverse the age gap in B.C.’s agriculture industry by developing strong agricultural policies that incent young people into agriculture, and allow them to make a good living.
Retaining young farmers is critical to having a strong agricultural future. The B.C. Liberals have not taken the steps needed to encourage young people to get into the industry. In 15 years they haven’t developed a long-term agriculture plan and they have put our provincial food security at risk.
I've urged the B.C. Liberals government to bring back the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture for six years. Although the Opposition Standing Committee on Agriculture and Food will be operating without legislative supports such as Hansard, the committee has support across the province.
I have heard tremendous support for a legislative committee from all parts of the agriculture industry. We have support from small farms and big farms, conventional farmers and organic farmers, and from entrepreneurs and food security advocates.
British Columbians can’t afford to wait for action on agriculture in the face of climate change and missed economic opportunities. We must have a long-term, sustainable agriculture and food plan in order to be resilient.
The members of the committee are:
Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South
Raj Chouhan, MLA Burnaby-Edmonds
Katrine Conroy, MLA Kootenay West
Robin Austin, MLA Skeena
Nicholas Simons, MLA Powell River-Sunshine Coast
A schedule of committee meetings, a public website and information on how the public can participate will be released over the next month.
Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South & Agriculture Spokesperson for the Official Opposition