Waters: Agricultural plans of political parties give voters food for thought

The NDP and Liberals' plans for agriculture are no different despite the spin being put on them.

Despite the political rhetoric that includes both sides dissing each other about their respective plans, it seem the Liberal and the NDP are offering British Columbians the same dish when it comes to promoting agriculture in this province.

Using different names for their programs, its seems both parties wants use to buy and consume more locally produced food.

The NDP call their program Buy B.C., while the Liberals call theirs Buy Local. The ND want to make B.C. hospitals include more provincially grown fruit and vegetables in the meals they provide patients. TheLiberals want to encourage hospitals to do so. Te NDP want to develop local markets and promote stability for B.C. and Okanagan growers, the Liberals to help growers with a new “permanent and sustainable” replant program.

But to hear ND leaderAdrian Dix and local Liberal MLA and current agriculture MinisterNorm Letnick describe it, you’d think that the other is proposing an end to agriculture industry in this province.

“Not much of a plan,” said Letnick on his Facebook page Sunday. “As a business prof and agri minister, I give it an F.”

That after the NDP accused Letnick and the B.C. Liberals of “abandoning” the agriculture industry.

Of course elections are all about rhetoric and given the importance of agriculture to this area of B.C., the rhetoric is flowing thick and fast as we enter the second week of the official election campaign.

But local candidates were sparing over this issue well before the writ was dropped, withB.C. Conservative candidate challenging Letnick to a one-on-debate about agriculture only to be rebuffed. At the time, James said he had no confidence in Letnick and questioned if the local MLA even understood the issues at hand.

As we near the May 14 election date, the political bluster is only going to heat up on all sides  as those running for office appeal for every vote they can find.

So while left, right and centre leanings will be played upon, voters need to take a close look at what all the parties are offering in order to make an informed decision when they go to the polls.

There are stark differences between the parties on a number of issues but it seems that when it comes to agriculture, the Liberals andND may not be as far apart as the candidates may want to believe they are.

And for voters, that is something to chew on.