DELTA (September 20, 2019) – Ian Paton, BC Liberal Agriculture Critic and Delta South MLA, is echoing the concerns of farmers and ranchers on the widespread impacts of the NDP’s damaging Bill 52 changes as Agricultural Land Reserve consultations begin throughout the province.
“Last night, a large crowd gathered on Vancouver Island and made their voices heard to the chair of the Agricultural Land Commission and Ministry of Agriculture staff,” says Paton. “Many people in attendance were upset by the NDP government’s changes on how agricultural land can be used. Clearly Minister Popham is feeling the heat from angry farm owners around the province and is finally doing the consultations that should have been done long before changes were made.”
The flaws of Bills 52 and 15 have been clear since the damaging legislation was first brought forward by the NDP. Government’s role should not be to stifle the rights of farmers, but to support them. Allowing farmers to start small businesses that will generate jobs, tourism, and an income will ultimately lead to a more productive farm and food supply.
“The NDP botched the first round of consultations in 2018, which led to passing these destructive bills in the first place. Now as anger swells, the government is backtracking for damage control,” concluded Paton. “John Horgan and the NDP are sending farmers a clear message that their government values land more than the people who make farms successful. B.C. farmers deserve more than just talk, they need action.”
There is no farm without the farmer. John Horgan and the NDP should just admit they were wrong and reverse these changes completely.