Sunday, September 27, 2009

Good news for a change....


A drop of good news for a change!

It’s been quite a month as I work in the Legislature and try to move the government towards more sustainable decisions. They aren't listening yet: whether it is their shocking failure to protect our wild salmon, or short-sighted cuts to a successful intervention program for autistic children. I will keeping working on important issues like these and I know that we`ll make progress because the facts on our side.

But there was one little success this week that I wanted to tell you about!

For years, many of us have been arguing as forcefully that this government must stop allowing wine imported from anywhere in the world to be sold as BC wine. The Liberal government helped to create a loophole called “Cellared in Canada”. If the wine is put in a bottle in BC, it can be marketed as BC wine, regardless of where the grapes are grown or even where the wine is made! This cheap product is everywhere, undercutting genuine BC wines and making it harder for local wineries to compete. And it dupes consumers that want to buy local. It is a deception, a fraud – pure and simple.

Finally, after all our efforts to keep the spotlight on this, the media around the world has begun to report on it. And now, the Minister Responsible, Rich Coleman, has promised to do something about it. Even if he applies just an ounce of common sense he will have to change these rules.

I won’t let up until he does.

Lana

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BC Wine? BC Deception. A slap in the face for BC Wineries!



It's hard to believe that the 2010 Olympics Logo, the designation of Official Wine Supplier, would be stuck on a product that is only cellared in Canada....and is not a 100 percent BC Product. We, as taxpayers, have sacrificed a lot of tax money to showcase our province to the world for 10 days. It would be appropriate to make sure the products we are showcasing are from BC. The article below lays it out nicley. Gordon Hamilton, from the Vancouver Sun, is an excellent journalist. Read it and weep......

Consumers 'deceived' by low-cost imports being sold as B.C. wines

By Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver SunSeptember 19, 2009
Lindsey and Michael Rankin, a honeymooning couple from California, check out a bottle of B.C. wine that contains imported wine as part of the blend.
Photograph by: Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver SunLow-cost bulk wines from places like California and South Africa are being sold in government liquor stores as B.C. wines, raising a storm of protest among winemakers and wine lovers who say the impostors are damaging the reputation of this province's industry.

The wines are sold by Canada's three biggest winemakers as though they are British Columbia wines, and only a keen-eyed consumer can tell the difference, said David Bond, executive director of the Association of Wine Growers of British Columbia. Association members include some of the province's best estate winemakers.

"They are getting a free ride off the reputation everyone else has developed," Bond said in an interview. "They are selling it in the B.C. wine section, and it's atrocious. I think it's scandalous. This is a very calculated form of consumer deception."

It's a Canada-wide strategy developed by the three major winemakers in consultation with federal and provincial governments that is supported by provincial liquor boards. The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch displays the wines as if they were domestic products, identifying their country of origin as Canada.

It's only in the fine print at the bottom of the back label that the wineries identify their product as being "Cellared in Canada from domestic and imported wines."

They don't have to contain a drop of B.C. wine under Liquor Distribution Branch regulations. They just have to be bottled in B.C.

They sell for less than the province's home-grown wines, and in this province are offered in the "British Columbia" section of government liquor stores.

Consumers have to be savvy enough to ignore the displays and head for wines identified by the VQA symbol (Vintners Quality Alliance) to get real B.C. wine.

The wines are priced to compete with international brands that are also blended from unspecified sources, according to B.C. Wine Institute general manager Lisa Cameron. She said how they are sold is a retail issue.

But the practice has already blackened British Columbia's reputation as a wine region. A sharply critical article in the Sept. 10 issue of the influential news magazine The Economist was headlined: "Blended Deceit from the Nanny State."

And Jancis Robinson, one of the world's leading wine writers, wrote in her blog recently that a tasting this summer of B.C. wines "was tempered by my experience in a typical local monopoly liquor store in Vancouver," when she checked out the wines in the section identified as "British Columbia".

"It's just so difficult to take Canadian producers seriously when they are allowed to mislead the wine-buying public to this extent," she wrote.

Robinson, who lives in London, England, told The Vancouver Sun in an e-mail that consumers are being misled.

"I do think it is extremely misleading, and I know many very intelligent and well-educated Canadians who have no inkling that these wines are not all-Canadian," she said.

Tourists seeking a taste of B.C. can also easily be misled by the marketing strategy. At Vancouver's Alberni Street liquor store, newlyweds Lindsey and Michael Rankin found out just how difficult when they tried to buy a B.C. wine while on their honeymoon here.

They said their confidence in the province's viticultural achievements was shaken when they learned a bottle of Peller Estates wine they were eyeing was actually a bulk wine, likely from their own state of California.

"If it says B.C. wine, you would expect it to be local," said Michael Rankin, referring to the store's "British Columbia" signage above the wines. The LDB identifies it with a red maple leaf, meaning, according to the store, it is a wine originating in Canada.

Lindsey, the wine-lover of the two, said she read the description on the back label, but would not have picked up the fine print identifying it as imported.

"If I read that before, I would have gone straight to the imports section and bought a wine I know something about," she said.

Rich Coleman, minister responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch, said in an interview Friday that he was not aware of the practice, and he intends to look into both the labelling of the wine and the way it is displayed in B.C. liquor stores.

"I never had a problem when we would bring in juice and then ferment it into wine in British Columbia. But if they are actually bringing in wine and re-bottling it, and it's already been made somewhere else and they are just re-bottling it, then that sounds a bit odd to me."

He said he intends to raise the issue with LDB president Jay Chambers on Monday.

"So it's where it's actually displayed on the shelf that's the issue," he said. "That I can look into, and I will do."

The bulk wines can be purchased for as little as 21 cents a litre, said Bond, yielding huge profits for the wine companies.

There are about a dozen brand names using the words "Cellared in Canada" -- from Peller Estates Proprietor's Reserve and Jackson-Triggs Proprietors' Selection, which sell for $9, to Wild Horse Canyon, at $13. All are made by divisions of Mission Hill, Andrew Peller Ltd. and Vincor International Ltd., owner of the Jackson-Triggs label. The three are the country's largest wine companies.

Only Mission Hill's more costly Wild Horse Canyon separates itself by stating on the front label that it is made from California, Washington and British Columbia wines.

The "Cellared in Canada" issue is one the three winemakers and the Liquor Distribution Branch are sensitive about.

No representatives of the Big Three were willing to talk about it for this article.

The LDB would only explain its policy by e-mail. Labelling is a federal responsibility, the LDB said.

As long as the wines are bottled here, they are shelved in the "BC Wine" sections of LDB stores, the e-mail stated.

But "there is no British Columbia grape content requirement for these wines," the e-mail said. "And wineries are able to make their own blending decisions."

John Clerides, owner of private Vancouver wine store Marquis Wine Cellars, said he only carries Jackson-Triggs wines because of the price point, but his staff warn consumers what they are buying.

"It's not in the Canadian wine section. There's really no home for it. We tell our customers to put their glasses on and read the fine print."

B.C. Wine expert John Schreiner said there's a lot at stake for the big wineries that use the "Cellared in Canada" wording. Not only are they hugely profitable for wineries, but also for the LDB.

But he believes some of the wineries are going too far. He singled out Vincor, which puts its logo identifying it as the official wine supplier to the 2010 Olympics on its "Cellared in Canada" wines.

"The most egregious example of a wine that will fuzzify consumers is the merlot from [Vincor's] Jackson-Triggs that has the special Olympics label.

"The issue these days is we are making world-class wines and these wines are kind of competing with the image of what we do so well in the Okanagan Valley.

"It isn't that they are bad wines. It's that they are often fairly ordinary wines. Let's face it. If you are a [domestic] winery out on the market for bulk wine, the wineries with bulk wine for sale aren't going to sell you the stuff they put in their best bottles.

"I'd like to see some better disclosure on the labels. I think it's more important than ever, now that we have quality wines, so Canadian consumers can make a choice."

ghamilton@vancouversun.com

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Incompetence on Salmon!


For Immediate Release
Sept. 19, 2009

PENNER TRIES TO DIVERT BLAME FROM HIS OWN GOV’T INCOMPETENCE ON SALMON,
NEW DEMOCRATS SAY

VICTORIA – Environment Minister Barry Penner’s attempt to criticize the federal government’s Fraser River sockeye forecasts is a brazen attempt to divert attention from his own government’s shoddy record on fisheries management, say the New Democrats.

“Minister Penner is trying to shift the blame away from the B.C. Liberals, but the truth is that the B.C. Liberals’ repeated regulatory failures have contributed to the crisis facing many B.C. salmon stocks,” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming.

“Pointing fingers at Ottawa doesn’t diminish their own culpability, and won’t make coastal communities forget Gordon Campbell’s cynical pledge to implement the best fisheries management in the world, bar none.”

“Minister Penner should be ashamed for criticizing Ottawa while he’s slashing his own ministry’s fish and wildlife management budget.”

Penner criticized the federal government’s forecasts in the wake of news that returns of Fraser River sockeye are roughly 10 per cent of expected.

“One of Premier Campbell’s great golden goals in 2005 was the best fisheries management on the planet, but they have completely given up on fish,” said Lana Popham, the opposition critic for agriculture.

“British Columbia salmon are at risk because the B.C. Liberals have no strategy. Like so many other issues, it seems their only strategy on this is political – and it’s essentially to blame someone else. That doesn’t help our wild salmon stocks.”

In 2007, the special legislative committee on sustainable aquaculture – chaired by Skeena MLA Robin Austin – made 55 recommendations to improve aquaculture while protecting wild stocks.

The failure of the B.C. government to protect wild salmon stocks was one of the issues cited in a lawsuit that led to fisheries management being turned over to the federal government.

"The minister has given up responsibility of wild salmon when he knows that Ottawa is about to inherit the B.C. Liberal fish farm debacle,” said intergovernmental relations critic Guy Gentner.

“When times get tough, leaders delve into the situation. Minister Penner is simply walking away."

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]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

B.C. Vision for Agriculture

Hi All,

Yesterday I had two minutes in the House to make a statement, here is what I said:

AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY IN B.C.

L. Popham: This summer I was fortunate to travel through Kamloops and the Cariboo region on a six-day agricultural tour with the member for Cariboo North. Since most of my experience with agriculture has been on Vancouver Island, I was taken aback by the huge scale of agricultural operations in the Interior. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

In town after town we consulted with ranchers, farmers and people interested in expanding local food production. We visited working ranches and organic farms, took a tour of an abattoir and attended a livestock sale. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It became clear during this tour that a single vision was being articulated. Just like on Vancouver Island, there is a vision shared by the First Nations Agricultural Association, the Fruit Growers Association, the B.C. Livestock Producers Co-op, the meat processors, local agricultural steering committees, farmers' market associations, individual ranchers and an increasing number of consumers who are interested in supporting local food production. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It is a vision about self-sufficiency and sustainability of B.C. agriculture. It is a message about our untapped capacity. It's hard to believe that in a time of accelerating climate change, a time of economic turmoil, we are not focusing on our own back yard for solutions. A self-sufficient British Columbia is not such a crazy idea. It's an idea whose time has come. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I'm not talking about cutting ourselves off and shutting our doors or about being independent from the rest of this planet. I'm talking about a wasted opportunity if we don't start to develop B.C.'s agricultural community to its fullest potential. That's the message I'm bringing back to this House from the farmers and consumers of B.C. who want to be part of the solution. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]