Monday, November 30, 2015

You're invited

Dear Constituents of Saanich South,

It is my pleasure to invite you to an Art Show and Open House this Wednesday, December the 2nd, from 5-7PM at my Constituency Office, 4085 Quadra.

There will be tasty snacks and desserts, as well as tea, coffee and hot apple cider.

In attendance will be two talented artists who live in the Blenkinsop Valley, Illarion Gallant and Tywla Rusnak. Their remarkable work – both paintings and sculptures – will be on display.

This event is also a fundraiser for two members of our community, a single mother and her young daughter. They have no extended family support, are struggling on a very low income and one of them has a severe and permanent disability. Help me raise the money necessary to buy them a laptop and a printer. This would be a great help to the school-age girl, and for her mother who would use it for language training as her first language is not English.

Last week I sent out a printed report summarizing my work as an MLA since being re-elected two years ago. It is also a request for input on my priorities moving forward. Please take a look by clicking here.

Warm regards, Lana
 https://gallery.mailchimp.com/cc45fa41536bdc82b54de571d/images/c4c6eff3-0d58-4619-88ee-3c7f29ddf8b9.gif
Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Royal BC Museum visits Saanich South

A great part of my job is organizing and hosting community gatherings. My goal is always the same: to bring people together for an enjoyable event that also raises awareness about important ideas.

Last month, I held my sixth such event, an evening in Saanich with the Royal BC Museum. Professor and Museum CEO Jack Lohman joined us at the well-loved Beach House restaurant in Cordova Bay. 

Professor Lohman gave a riveting speech to a capacity crowd (200 people). He brought with him two of world-class curators, Dr. Kathryn Bridge and Dr. Martha Black, as well as rarely seen treasures from the museum's extraordinary collection. 

The three of them generously spent the evening with us, letting everyone get up close and personal with the items, and answering innumerable questions about their historical and cultural significance.

This event was advertised and free tickets were given out on a first-come-first-served basis. My office also organized a companion event earlier in the day for public school students at Claremont Secondary.

If you would have liked to attend but did not hear about, please contact my office and we will be sure to let you know about such events in the future.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Opinion: B.C. must become a climate leader

                               John Horgan, Leader of the Official Opposition   

                                     Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , PNG

BY JOHN HORGAN, SPECIAL TO THE VANCOUVER SUN

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change, due to open in Paris in a few days, is one of the most consequential gatherings of world leaders in our lifetime.

The Paris talks are our best chance to slow and reverse the human-caused changes to our atmosphere that threaten our way of life. British Columbia must play an important role as Canada and the nations of the world reach for an accord and begin to take decisive action.

In British Columbia, we see the effects of climate change in the growing number of powerful storms that pummel our coast, record wildfires that destroy our forests, and water shortages that harm our agricultural sector. To the north, glaciers are in retreat. To the south, California has endured catastrophic drought. Greenhouse gas emissions in B.C. have increased every single year since Premier Christy Clark took office, and they are still trending upwards.

It’s not too late, but real action will only come with real leadership, and we’re not getting it from Premier Clark. The climate change plan she inherited has run out of steam. She imposed a five-year freeze on the carbon tax, refuses to use carbon tax revenue to fund climate solutions, exempted the LNG industry from calculating greenhouse gas emissions on 70 per cent of its operations, cancelled a home retrofit program, and derailed public transit expansion plans with a built-to-fail referendum.

We must change course, and we can. Last week at BCIT, I announced a bold, progressive plan for jobs and energy called PowerBC. Our plan includes an ambitious program of energy retrofits for public and private buildings, upgrades to maximize our existing hydroelectric dams, and an aggressive move toward renewable technologies like wind and solar power. Our plan looks forward, not back.

PowerBC would make energy retrofits a top priority of government, while creating jobs and supporting the economy in every community in the province. Energy retrofits of major public buildings like schools and hospitals are a direct way government can lead on energy conservation. But Premier Clark doesn’t see that. Empowering and enabling families to renovate their homes would not only reduce emissions, but would also save money. But Premier Clark cancelled a retrofit program in 2014 after British Columbians signed up for it in great numbers.

Right across B.C., there are more opportunities for us to take meaningful action against climate change. For example, we should be considering serious investment in infrastructure for electric vehicles, and expanding on programs that incent British Columbians to adopt this forward-looking technology. And we should be investing in our public transit system to reduce congestion and cut vehicle emissions. The game-playing on transit funding that has characterized Premier Clark’s leadership has to end. New Democrats have long argued that a portion of the money raised through the carbon tax should be used specifically to reduce carbon emissions through support for projects like transit expansion.

It’s time to move beyond talk and photo ops. This moment in our shared history demands leadership and political courage. It’s time for real action on climate change to ensure that we leave our children a province, and a planet, as bountiful and healthy as the one we were entrusted with.

John Horgan is leader of the B.C. New Democrats.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

You are invited: Bringing History Home

Dear Residents of Saanich South,

It is my privilege to invite you to a very special (and free!) evening event on Thursday October the 1st.

Professor Jack Lohman, the CEO of the Royal BC Museum, as well as two of the museum's top curators, Dr Kathryn Bridge and Dr Martha Black, will share and discuss rarely seen treasures from the museum's extraordinary collection.

Professor Lohman - an entertaining and erudite speaker - will also give a talk about our province's "intangible culture": the languages, songs, stories and folklore that define British Columbia.

This is my fifth large-scale "Community Gathering" as your Member of the Legislative Assembly. My goal with these events is to bring people together for an enjoyable event that also raises awareness about important ideas.

It is a great honour to work with the Royal BC Museum! This is the first event of this kind that they are doing and it will likely become a model for other constituencies around the province. The museum's collections includes more than seven million items, many of which are rarely seen. We are very fortunate that three of the finest minds from this world-class museum are bringing select treasures into the heart of Saanich and joining us for an intimate evening to discuss their historical and cultural significance.

The event runs from 7-9pm and is taking place at a landmark location in this constituency, the elegant Beach House restaurant in Cordova Bay. 5109 Cordova Bay Road. There will  be complimentary desserts and tea and coffee.

The event is free, but space is limited and your place must be reserved by picking up a ticket at my Constituency Office, 4085-B Quadra Street during regular office hours, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday to Thursday.  (The office is occasionally closed during those times for outside events or meetings so you may want to call ahead, 250 479 4154).

We are also providing a related learning event on the same day for grades 11 and 12 students event at Claremont Secondary School.

Warm regards,

Lana Popham
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich South



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

MMBC under review by Auditor General

Good news! The weakening of BC's residential recycling programme by the BC Liberal government will be reviewed by the Auditor General.

In her report released today, Auditor General Bellringer revealed that one of her priorities for 2015/2016 will be to begin a review of:
"The effectiveness of the Ministry of Environment’s oversight of product stewardship (recycling) with a focus on Multi-Materials BC."   
This is an important and necessary step that I have been working towards since 2014. I have raised many important criticisms of MMBC, including its structure, activities, and environmental bona-fides.

Earlier this year I met with the Auditor General and laid out my concerns about MMBC. My most recent letter to her is here.

Peace River & Site C


Dear Saanich South,

Two week ago I was on a working tour of the Peace River Valley. I met many people, including First Nation Chiefs, land-owners, hard-working farmers, community leaders - many fine individuals!

Last week in the BC Legislature I reflected on my experiences. Here is my two minute Statement:




Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Break the Plastic Habit!

Break the plastic habit!
Chelsea Glaser, Trust for Sustainable Development on the left
and Gillian Montgomery, Surfrider Foundation on the right


Dear Constituents,

Drop by 4085 Quadra during office hours and pick up a free, re-usable shopping bag! The bags are washable, made from 99% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and come in an easy-to-carry pouch.

I've partnered with local activists, Chelsea Glaser and Gillian Montgomery, to raise awareness about disposable plastic bags.

These two remarkable young women have dedicated a ton of energy and effort to move our society in the right direction. This week they will be speaking in front of Victoria Council and they are just getting started!

Click "read more" below to learn about their campaign and the logic of reducing - or even banning! - disposable plastic bags.

Best, Lana


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Home heating oil spills - protecting homeowners and our environment

Here is an excellent update on this issue from my colleague MLA Rob Fleming, 

June 30th, 2015
Earlier this year, my colleague Lana Popham (MLA Saanich South) and I organized a well-attended public forum on home heating oil spills. Recent media reports confirm that this is a huge problem for greater Victoria homeowners. In many cases, the risk is posed by the unknown presence of backyard underground home heating oil tanks that were improperly decommissioned.

Victoria still has a large number of homes heated by oil - natural gas service was only introduced to the island in 1992. The number of home heating oil leaks is likely increasing as the tanks (both buried and above-ground) age. 

Clean-up costs for homeowners can be massive, in several cases they have exceeded $100,000. I have constituents who suffered through exhausting and expensive legal proceedings for remediation and recovery of costs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Are teeth part of the body?

Suzy B.
Dear Saanich South,

My community office is regularly contacted by people who have a serious medical issue requiring surgery but because of the part of the body in crisis -- the teeth -- there is no coverage under MSP. It doesn't make any sense because teeth are obviously part of the body. We do our best to help people in this situation but it is very challenging as the government is rarely prepared to help if it isn't an emergency.

Here is a case in point. A constituent of mine named Suzy B. is a 20 year old young woman who urgently needs extensive dental surgery. (Her teeth were compromised when she was four years old because of chemotherapy that she had for Lymphoblastic Leukemia. To complicate matters, the experience of the surgery was very traumatic for her as a little girl and this has created a lot of anxiety for Suzy when she goes to the dentist.)

The surgery will cost about sixteen thousand dollars. Suzy B is unable to afford this on her own. She has support from her family but the cost is too much for them to bear. They have tried everything they can to secure the funds without success.

I am working hard to find resources for her. My office has confirmed the facts with her dental office directly. If you are able to consider a donation you can visit her gofundme page

My constituency office has made a small contribution in order to help raise awareness of this issue. If you are aware of other people in a similar situation please contact me.

Warm regards, Lana


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BC Government is failing to protect BC farmland

Dear Friends,

Today in the BC Legislature I introduced critical legislation to protect the Agricultural Land Reserve.

This Bill demonstrates what is needed to stop the rampant misuse of prime farmland that is happening at this very moment.

Thousands of hectares of ALR land have been purchased by a conglomerate of large foreign corporations. The goal is to use the land for a dubious carbon sequestration scheme that will "offset" their polluting practices ...and make it impossible for the land to be used for agricultural production.

I am all for tree-planting but there is more than a million hectares on our timber harvesting land base that needs to be reforested right now.

Planting trees on farmland for carbon offset programs is a loophole in the ALR that needs to be closed by legislation.

The Agricultural Land Commission’s mandate is to oversee and protect the ALR while encouraging food production. Currently, thousands of hectares of food lands are being planted with trees — contradicting the ALC’s mandate.

This is an urgent issue that requires immediate action. At a time when there are serious droughts due to climate change in California and Washington, it has never been more important to protect our farmland and to bring it into production.

If the Protecting Agricultural Lands Act is passed, then the ALC will have the power to examine all ALR land use and can intervene when breaches occur. This act will bring security and accountability to a Ministry that desperately needs it.

Over 10,500 hectares of ALR land is being used for carbon offset schemes by one offshore corporation — and they don’t plan on stopping — in fact, this company has admitted to already planting 7 million trees on ALR land and plans to have 10 million planted by 2016. The B.C. Liberal government fails to see the urgency of this situation; they are dragging their feet.

Only 5 per cent of B.C.’s land is suitable for agriculture, which is why we have the Agricultural Land Reserve. The government isn’t acting quick enough to ensure that our provincial farmland is available for food production and not ruined to support a corporate greenwashing scheme.

The Protecting Agricultural Lands Act would empower the Agricultural Land Commission to better monitor, regulate, and protect B.C.’s precious farmland.

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South





--

Background:


Globe & Mail: B.C. farmland lost to tree planting for carbon credits is a frightening loss



“I think the minister, who has been claiming to have control over this file, has no idea what’s going on,” she said. “I addressed this [issue] three times in the legislature. First time he denied there was a problem. Then we found out the problem was bigger than anyone expected. The next answer was that the Agricultural Land Commission had the tools to deal with the problem. Now we see by that correspondence that they don’t have the tools to deal with the problem. Obviously the government needs to get more serious about this.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/leaked-letter-questions-bc-governments-ability-to-protect-farmland/article24536006/


Question Period in BC Legislature:





Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Community Spirit

Dear Friends,

Just over five years ago, 10-year old Dacian was diagnosed with a genetic disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Duchenne dystrophy mutates a gene so that a protein called dystrophin is not produced. Dystrophin is needed for muscles to work properly. There is no cure yet for this disease and someone with it has a life expectancy of just twenty-five years.

Dacian’s loving family and friends are determined to do everything they can to bring comfort and happiness to his life.

He now needs a wheelchair more and more, and his family wants a wheel-chair accessible van so that he is not isolated. The cost of such a vehicle is very challenging for Dacian’s family. Regretfully, a provincial government programme that used to help with such purchases has been cut.

Rather than accept the situation, Dacian’s friends and family have rallied to his side and have been actively fundraising for over a year. They have raised $30,000 of the approximately $45,000 needed for the van!

His parents have now put a down payment on the van and last weekend Dacian wheeled onto it for the first time. This joyous event was captured by CHEK News in the video-clip below:


There are many remarkable people who came together to make this dream come true. As the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich South, I would like to publicly acknowledge a few of them now.

Maya and her mom Angie have driven the efforts since the beginning. They did a lemonade stand and loom bracelet stand last year that raised over $1500. Angie helped the family connect with Cascadia Liquor Stores that raised more than $3,700 for the van.

Also wonderful is the the effort of Nicole and her daughter Shaya who raised over $1600 with a lemonade stand and cookie fundraiser.

Firefighters in Saanich and in the whole CRD have been amazing. Special thanks to Nick with the Sooke Fire Department. He ran the Victoria Marathon wearing full firefighter gear and in the process raised $3,900 towards Dacian's van.

Adrian and Daniela inspired many when they organized volunteers to build a fence that brought in more than $2,000.

The Kids Klub Victoria successfully organized a fundraiser that contributed $1,000 towards Dacian's van.

Mike and Brenda, and their son Cameron, have also made a huge contribution. They organized a neighbourhood garage sale that raised over $700.

To all of these people and the many more who helped out, I say: THANK YOU!!!

It is people like you that make our community a great place to live.

Sincerely,

Lana

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

PS. More details about Dacian and the fundraising effort is here:
http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/a-van-for-dacian/191432

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Globe & Mail: B.C. farmland lost to tree planting for carbon credits is a frightening loss

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Companies seeking carbon offsets prefer open farmland to forests that have
been logged because the planting is easier.
(Ben Nelms/Bloomberg)

Published 
Thousands of hectares of agricultural land in British Columbia are being planted with trees so that companies can gain credits for carbon sequestration, says NDP agricultural critic Lana Popham.
During a tour of the province, the MLA has been hearing about the practice from ranchers and farmers who are worried about the loss of food productivity and who say they are being outbid for good farmland by large, foreign corporations.
Given the massive drought in California and the uncertain future of food production everywhere due to climate change, it seems crazy to take valuable farmland out of production to grow trees. That is especially true in British Columbia, where there are already extensive tracts of industrial forest land that have been logged and which are waiting to be replanted.
There’s room for more trees in the forest land base, but Ms. Popham said companies want flat, open farmland because it is easier and cheaper to replant trees there.
She first heard about the practice of replanting farmland with trees last year when meeting with farmers in Prince George. Then, last week, in Williams Lake, the issue surfaced again.
“If it was just a few hundred acres here or there I’d be, yeah, whatever, but it’s tens of thousands of acres,” she said. “So it’s an enormous situation.”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Celebrating and thanking the Wounded Warriors


Today it was my privilege to join the Speaker of the Legislature to host an event in the Legislative Library Rotunda to...
Posted by Lana Popham on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New "Wills Clinic" at Victoria Courthouse

Kudos and a shout-out to Catharine Schlenker and the "Wills Clinic Project".

This new and free legal service is for low-income seniors (55+) and people with a terminal illness. 

The clinic helps prepare Wills, Representation Agreements, and Enduring Power of Attorney instruments.

People with under $300,000 in assets are eligible. This clinic is in the Justice Access Centre at the Victoria Courthouse.

To book an appointment, contact Catharine directly:
Catharine Schlenker, Service Coordinator
Access Pro Bono Society of BC
Phone: 250.356.6125

Monday, February 23, 2015

Success in Saanich! Maltby Lake to receive new environmental protection

Gillian Harvey (Pip Holmes' granddaughter),
Carmel Thomson, Patrick Brown and MLA Lana
Popham. BC Supreme Court, February 23, 2015
April 2, 2015 Breaking News!
Today the Supreme Court of BC formally accepted TLC's restructuring plan. This includes the agreement to sell most of TLC's interest in Maltby lake for $750,000 to Woody and Carmel Thomson. This is a huge victory for the environment and for those who want to see pristine Maltby Lake protected forever. The agreement of sale to Woody and Carmel (who are the long-time environmental stewards of this land) includes a covenant that requires them to dedicate the land as a park and conservation area. In effect, Woody and Carmel are making a $750,000 donation to protect Maltby Lake. Wow!

March 30 2015 Update
Creditors today accepted TLC's plan to restructure and exit bankruptcy protection. The plan would see ecological protections maintained for Maltby Lake.
http://www.cheknews.ca/tlc-back-on-solid-ground-after-land-deal/

March 19 2015 Update:
Maltby Lake update. On March 30 the TLC's creditors will vote on the court monitor-approved TLC plan to pay off its debts. Most of the creditors are prepared to accept the plan. They will get almost all of their money back, but in accepting this plan they are also agreeing to take less money than they would have if the bankruptcy process had operated as it usually does, liquidating assets for the highest possible return. And if that happens this case will make legal history. You might think it is a no-brainer (I do) but if all goes well we will have an important legal judgement emphasizing the logic that it is necessary to give "robust" consideration to the ecological value of land when it is being sold through bankruptcy proceedings. This resolution to the TLC troubles is far from perfect but it is important to note that a number of key properties will be protected In Saanich South, hard work by many people is expected to strengthen the environmental protections for Maltby Lake.

In October of 2013, the Land Conservancy of BC was granted creditor protection by the Supreme Court of BC.

The protection was to give it time to come up with a plan to avoid bankruptcy. The TLC currently owes creditors 8.4 million dollars.

Just moments ago the TLC's plan was approved by the Court.

The plan will see TLC repay most of the money owing to creditors while respecting its mandate to protect property with high ecological or heritage value.

There is a fine balance here. Nowhere is this more evident than with Maltby Lake.

As I have written previously, Maltby Lake is an extraordinarily important and robust ecosystem in Saanich.

Under the plan approved by the court today, the TLC will sell 83% of its interest in Maltby Lake for $750,000.

All of this money will go to TLC’s creditors.

It is important to note that Maltby Lake land was not sold to the highest bidder, but to the buyer best able to protect its ecological value. This shows TLC’s commitment to protecting the land it owns.

The purchaser will be Woody and Carmel Thomson, the long-time environmental stewards of that land. Their personal generosity and commitment to the environment are worthy of genuine praise and thanks from all residents of Saanich. The sale of this land includes legally-enforceable provisions protecting its ecology.

The TLC intends to sell the remaining 6% of its Maltby Lake share to the Friends of the Maltby Lake Watershed Society. I look forward to working with the Thomsons and the Society to reach this goal.

The court decision today is of tremendous value to the people of Saanich. Thanks in large part to the dedication and financial contributions of the Maltby Lake Society, and Woody and Carmel Thomson, as well as to the hard work and passion of TLC, we now have a court sanctioned and legally-enforceable plan to protect a large portion of Maltby Lake.  

I am also pleased to note that the TLC will be retaining ownership and maintaining its support of Madrona Farm, its other property in my constituency. Land trusts like this one are a key method for British Columbia to ensure that valuable agricultural land remains accessible to young farmers. 

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Friday, February 20, 2015

Doctor-assisted dying: Statement in the Legislature

"It’s a great privilege today to rise in this house and speak to the legacy of Sue Rodriguez, a woman who lived and died right here on Vancouver Island. She is best known to us all for her brave fight to have the power to end her own life 22 years ago….


“'If I cannot give consent to my own death, whose body is this? Who owns my life'?"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Year of the Goat!


Happy Lunar New Year Saanich South! I hope the Year of the Goat is a year of good health and prosperity for you and your family. 恭喜發財Lana


Monday, February 2, 2015

Democratic Reform


Dear Saanich South,

When people talk to me about politics one thing I hear repeatedly is a demand for more integrity.

In my opinion one of the very best ways to make that happen is to strengthen the actual rules of democracy.

Here are three simple changes that would move us in the right direction:
  1. Don’t let corporations or unions make donations to political parties. That way we are more likely to get politicians who make decisions based on their own values and the best interests of the people they serve …not what is most advantageous for those with the deepest pockets. 
  2. Protect “whistleblowers”: Governments should not punish civil servants who expose government misdeeds. 
  3. Formalized online petitions. They are an inexpensive and efficient way to demonstrate how much public support there is for a policy change or a potential new law.
The Opposition is also committed to moving forward on the key question of proportional representation. If elected government in 2017 we will give British Columbians the opportunity to consider and then vote on potential reforms to our electoral system.

Furthermore, the Opposition is calling for a fixed parliamentary schedule including a spring and fall session; stronger conflict-of-interest rules for ministerial staff; and closing of loopholes in the lobbyist registry

And that is just to start! I’m proud of the Opposition’s commitment to democratic reform… and very excited about the efforts of my colleague Saanich North and the IslandsMLA Gary Holman on this file. Gary is the Official Opposition Spokesperson for Democratic Reform and he has organized two town halls on the subject.

The first will be held tomorrow, February 3rd, at the Mary Winspear Centre, Activity Room. The second will be held on February 5th at Central Saanich Senior Citizens’ Centre. Both are free and open to the public, running from 6:30pm-8:0pm, and include representatives from Fair Vote Canada and Fair Voting BC.

Please attend and support our efforts to strengthen the democratic process in BC. 

For more information contact MLA Holman at 250 387 3655 or Gary.Holman.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Warm reagrds,

Lana

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Friday, January 30, 2015

Times Colonist: MLAs set up rebel group on agriculture

Lana Popham organized the rebel group after the Liberal
government  rebuffed calls for an official standing committee.  
Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist
LINDSAY KINES / TIMES COLONIST 
Independent MLA Vicki Huntington has agreed to co-chair a renegade Opposition committee on agriculture with Saanich South MLA Lana Popham.
Popham, the NDP’s agriculture critic, organized the rebel group after the Liberal government rebuffed calls for an official standing committee. The last one was disbanded in 2001, Popham said.
Huntington said Thursday that the lack of properly functioning committees of MLAs is “one of the great under-achievements of our democracy in the legislature.”
The Delta South MLA hopes to highlight that issue, while also focusing attention on agriculture and food security.
“I think it’s a good initiative and I think it brings attention to the fact that these standing committees don’t work properly and, in some cases, like agriculture, don’t exist,” she said.
As an unofficial committee, Popham, Huntington and the other members will receive no money or clerical support. Nor will Hansard record the proceedings. Popham hopes to livestream the meetings, perhaps with the help of a GoPro camera. “I won’t be wearing it on my head, but that would make it interesting,” she joked.
Popham expects the committee will meet monthly around the province. People will register to make 10-minute presentations and the committee will likely issue a report next fall.
“It ramps up the discussion and the importance of agriculture,” Popham said. “Although the government is choosing not to participate, it’s certainly a message that they’re going to be hearing, so I think the committee will still have the ability to influence policy decisions.”
Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said Popham and Huntington are “doing what politicians do, which is try to attract attention to their cause.”
But he dismissed the need for a standing committee. “I have a ministry advisory committee made up of people from different parts of agriculture and agrifoods, including aquaculture,” he said.
The advisory committee will meet in the coming weeks to go over the ministry’s draft agrifoods plan. “That’s really the benefit of having that committee structure with industry players on it as opposed to politicians,” Letnick said.
Huntington said the Opposition committee will give local communities and citizens a chance to be heard. “Anything that can publicize the need to spend more time in defining what food security means to the people of this province is important,” she said.
Huntington said the Liberals dislike legislative committees because they “don’t like losing control.”
“The fewer committees you have, the fewer opportunities you have for input or for publicity or for criticism,” she said.
“In the time I’ve been in the house, the standing committee on environment has never met. The standing committee on Crown corporations [has] never met.”

Monday, January 26, 2015

A disaster waiting to happen?

Dear Saanich, 

Residential oil spills from aging oil tanks and accessories are harming our local environment and creating significant financial liability for home-owners.

Join MLA Rob Fleming and me for a public forum to discuss this problem and the solutions.

Thursday February 5th
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Spectrum Community School Theatre, 957 Burnside Rd W.

Panelists:
  • Dean Murdock - Saanich Councillor
  • Tim Pringle - Past-president Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC
  • Ethan Krindle - Environmental Lawyer
  • Dave Rogers - President of BC Hazmat Management Ltd.
  • Dorothy Chambers - Colquitz River Steward
  • Judith Lavoie - Freelance writer, former reporter Victoria Times Colonist
A recent report from the Partnership for Water Sustainability found that over 13,000 homes constructed in the CRD prior to 1992 had oil heating. Aging oil tanks and accessories, if not properly maintained can lead to catastrophic damages to local fish and wildlife in our waterways and pose significant clean-up costs for property owners and local governments.

Hope to see you on the 5th! Refreshments provided.

For more information: amber.nash2@leg.bc.ca
Warm regards,

Lana Popham
MLA, Saanich South

Friday, January 23, 2015

BC Legislative Standing Committee on Agriculture!

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Saanich News: More oil tank spills, still no new solutions