DELTA – Delta South MLA and Agriculture Critic Ian Paton is calling on Agriculture Minister Lana Popham to reveal the selection process for members of her new Advisory Committee reviewing the Agricultural Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission.
“When I look at the committee members, I’m extremely concerned that there aren’t more farmers on this list,” says Paton. “If the true intention of this committee is to protect farmers and farmland, then surely the Minister can find a few more British Columbians who have actually farmed for a living to provide valuable feedback.”
Paton also notes some of B.C.’s key agricultural regions and sectors have been shut out of the review, with no representation on the committee.
“It’s surprising to me that the Cariboo-Chilcotin’s hard-working ranching community, or the Okanagan’s talented tree fruit and berry growers, or the Similkameen Valley’s dedicated hay farmers or grape growers wouldn’t be included on the committee. What’s more, the Kootenays have zero representation, as do important groups like the BC Cattlemen’s Association and the BC Agriculture Council,” says Paton. “Minister Popham has promised ‘an authentic and meaningful consultation process’ but that hardly seems the case when these key regions and sectors are being ignored by her committee.”
In addition to asking Popham to share details on the selection process for committee members, Paton also wants to know what kind of taxpayer-funded stipend each member will receive for participating in yet another redundant NDP review.