VICTORIA (June 21, 2019) – While BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham continues to backtrack on her damaging legislation, the BC Liberals say she could have avoided this embarrassing situation altogether had she listened to the concerns they raised on behalf of farmers in the Legislature months ago.
“In the last fall sitting the Official Opposition raised the numerous flaws contained in Bill 52, which has disrupted building plans and caused financial hardship for numerous farm families across British Columbia,” says BC Liberal Agriculture Co-Critic Ian Paton, MLA for Delta South. “These concerns were completely ignored by the minister, who plowed ahead with her activist agenda without any consideration of the consequences.”
The public uproar over the new rules for building additional properties on the Agricultural Land Reserve has led Popham to now declare in the media that a ‘grandfathering period’ is forthcoming in the next few weeks to finally provide some clarity and relief to these families.
“Looking ahead, I expect some NDP backpedaling on Bill 15 as well,” says BC Liberal Agriculture Co-Critic and MLA for Boundary-Similkameen Linda Larson. “As we tried to relay landowners’ concerns about having their rights taken away, John Horgan and the NDP abruptly shut down debate instead of hearing us out. Rather than learn from their mistakes, they continue to dismiss the concerns of farm families who just want to see their future generations have the opportunity to make a living.”
On top of this new NDP legislation and its added costs and red tape, Paton and Larson note B.C. farmers also have to contend with hikes to the minimum wage and carbon tax as well as the new Employer Health Tax.