Letter - Public Hearings on proposed amendments to Agricultural Land Commission Act

April 24, 2014
 
Honourable Norm Letnick,
Minister of Agriculture
PO Box 9043, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2                  
 
Dear Minister Letnick,
 
Re: Public Hearings on proposed amendments to Agricultural Land Commission Act
 
The National Farmers Union has serious concerns regarding Bill 24, the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, 2014. As farmers, the impact of this Bill would weigh most heavily on us, yet we have not been consulted. We welcome the recent news that you are now considering amending, or even withdrawing the Bill as reported in yesterday’s edition of the Vancouver Sun (Minister promises B.C.-wide consultation before ALR changes). 
 
We believe the Bill, as it is written, has serious flaws and very troubling implications for farming and food production in BC. We urge you to withdraw Bill 24 immediately, and then embark on meaningful public consultations with farmers that would focus on strengthening the ALR’s ability to protect farmland. Such consultations must promote full participation by all BC farmers, and thus must be scheduled to avoid the busiest seasons, with enough lead time to permit adequate preparation and with long enough duration to allow maximum participation.
 
We look forward to working with you to improve BC’s legislation so that the Agricultural Land Commission Act can become the model farmland protection that we can encourage all provinces to emulate.
 
Sincerely,
 
[original signed by]
 
Jan Slomp, President
National Farmers Union