Letters to the Editor

Letter: Government rushing through changes to ALR, ALC

To the editor:

I am deeply opposed to and offended by Bill 24. I insist that our elected government cease in moving forward with this bill and undertake meaningful consultation and dialogue with farmers, the food security movement, and with the general public to determine what are the careful changes that might be made to the ALR and the ALC as they now stand.

It is inconceivable that the Liberal government can even consider reducing protection for farmland in British Columbia when there is overwhelming evidence and concern at the global and national level about the looming food security crisis across the world and in our own backyards.

There is mounting evidence that a food crisis is looming and this it is increasingly important that nations and regions strengthen their food production and storage capacities in order to become more food sovereign.

Here are some reports that will help to inform everyone of the larger food crisis that is deepening every day:

Strengthening B.C.'s Agriculture Sector in the Face of Climate Change.

http://pics.uvic.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/Strengthening%20BC's%20Agriculture%20Sector_0.pdf

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Climate+change+impact+agriculture+study/8455586/story.html

Household food insecurity in Canada:

http://nutritionalsciences.lamp.utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/foodinsecurity2011_final.pdf

The state of knowledge about Food Security in Northern Canada, released just last week :

http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/assessments/in-progress/food-security.aspx

today’s release of the IPPC report on Climate Change and food :

http://www.ipcc.ch/

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-threat-food-security-humankind

There is a mounting cry to return to more regional and local food systems as one of the most important steps to mitigating climate change and to adapting our food systems to be resilient in an uncertain future:

The United Nations Trade and Development report; Wake up Before it is Too Late: Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now for Food Security in a Changing Climate

http://unctad.org/en/pages/PublicationWebflyer.aspx?publicationid=666

International year of the Family Farm :

http://foodsecurecanada.org/resources-news/news-media/2014-international-year-family-farming

I ask that Christy Clark and the BC Liberals please lift your heads up from your narrow focus on fossil fuel industries and see the bigger picture of the utter absurdity of your actions at a time when the food security of our own province and its citizens is at risk of major upheaval :

California drought and Canadian farmers:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/california-s-crippling-drought-could-cost-and-benefit-canadians-1.2541844

Please do the right thing for British Columbians and see to the long term protection of our future farmland instead of looking at the short term gains of jobs created by the resource extraction industry that continues to pollute the earth and our precious waters.

Please engage in the democratic process that you are charged to protect by partaking in meaningful debate with the public.

It is shameful the way that the Liberal government has made a mockery of the public process by not disclosing the intentions to unravel the ALR and ALC in their election platform, by hiding the changes in the Core Review Process instead of being up front about their intentions,  and by ramming this damaging bill through the legislature without any time for considerate thought and open debate about the impact of these decisions and about whose best interest these changes serve.  Certainly, the changes to the ALR and ALC  do not serve the interests of the majority farmers nor of the majority of BC families, who you are sworn to protect.

The removal of protection of our Agricultural Land Reserve and of the autonomous power of the Agricultural Land Commission is a blatant abuse of the sacred public trust.   Shame on BC Liberals for trading this sacred trust and for deceiving the public about your intentions with the ALR and ALC right from the outset of this campaign.

On behalf of the people of British Columbia, I urge you everyone to call our government MLAs and ask them  to cancel Bill 24.

Carol Kergan, board member

Central Okanagan Food Policy Council

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