Thursday, May 26, 2016

Saanich News: Island residents need better access to family doctors

OPINION
Reprinted from the Saanich News, May 24 2016

This week I’d like to talk about an issue that affects us all: the lack of access to family doctors.
A family doctor is one of the best tools at your disposal when caring for the health of you and your loved ones. Regular check-ups performed by a general practitioner can catch many problems while they are still easily treatable. A family doctor will know both you and your medical history personally; this significant advantage is not available at walk-in clinics. A family doctor is a great first resource should trouble arise. They can refer you to specialists, ensure continuity of care and identify urgent or serious conditions.
And yet there are many people who desperately want and need a family doctor, but cannot find one. Currently there are 57 unfilled permanent family doctor positions available on Vancouver Island alone.
The current provincial government has repeatedly promised to address this problem. And they have repeatedly broken those promises.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bill 24 and the ongoing fight to protect the Agricultural Land Reserve


Dear Friends,

Over the last two weeks I’ve received over a hundred emails from people across the province who are outraged about Bill 24 and demanding that everything possible be done to stop it from becoming law.

I regret to share with you that Bill 24 – a piece of legislation designed by the BC Liberals to weaken the Agricultural Land Commission and gut protections in the Agricultural Land Reserve – was passed into law two years ago.

A 2014 open-letter penned by the indomitable Corky Evans somehow gained a second life last month on the internet and is inspiring a lot of people to write.

I really appreciate the input – the passion shown reminds me how important the ALR is to the people of British Columbia.

Please know that I worked very hard with my colleagues in the Official Opposition, and with farmers and farmer-supporters all over the province to try and stop it.

As the images to the right show, this campaign took on a life of its own under the hashtags #KillBill24 and #Farmers4ALR.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MLA Lana Popham introduces the BC Local Food Act


Dear Friends, today I stood in the BC Legislature to introduce a Bill named British Columbia Local Food Act, 2016. 

This legislation advances five initiatives that would benefit us all by strengthening the agricultural sector and farming communities throughout BC:

(1) Eliminate the two-tier ALR created by the current government by transferring all ALR areas currently categorized in zone 2 into zone 1 and eliminating the zone 2 designation.

(2) Establish a legislative standing committee on food and agriculture which will have a voice in determining the chair and other members of the Agricultural Land Commission.

(3) Mandate this committee to prepare, in consultation with the Agriculture Minister, a plan to increase local food production, marketing and processing. The plan would set targets and initiate policies to meet those targets, which would be reported annually to the Legislature.

(4) Implement a comprehensive strategy to increase how much local food is purchased by hospitals and other public institutions.

(5) Reintroduce the successful Buy BC program.

The BC Local Food Act defines many of the agricultural priorities and commitments of the Official Opposition. It would also undo a significant amount of the damage done by the current BC government. It would bring the voices of farmers back into the BC legislature, restore the ALR, increase agricultural production, strengthen food security, contribute to climate change goals, and develop a stable market within BC for BC-grown products.

Click here to read the Local Food Act.

Lana Popham
MLA Saanich South

More information on agriculture in BC is available at www.bcagcom.ca.


Saanich News: Saanich MLA still in touch with farming roots

by  Hugo Wong Reprinted from the Saanich News

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saanich News: Education requires renewed investment

Saanich resident Mona Malik with her two daughters
Yashel and Anayah Cheema, who are just beginning 
their public education in the Saanich School District
OPINION
Reprinted from the Saanich News, 10 May 2016.

Do you agree that all young British Columbians should have access to an excellent education?
I’m a parent with a child who is graduating high school next month after 12 years in the public education system. To be honest, “excellent” is not a word I can use to describe the totality of his experience, nor that of his peers.
And the statistics bear out that observation.
B.C. has dropped from the second-best funded education system in Canada to the second-worst. This has led to more kids crammed into the classroom. That makes it harder for teachers to teach and allows for very little individual attention. This year alone there was a 25 per cent increase in the number of classes with more than 30 students. Since 2002, B.C. has lost the equivalent of 3,500 full-time teachers.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Summer Star Parties are back!!!

Dear Saanich South,

I'm very excited to share the news that "Summer Star Parties" are back at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. All the details are on the poster below. These free events will "sell out" so be sure to reserve your tickets beforehand. They are available for reservation one week before the party date. -L.