Opposition Committee hears agricultural concerns in Kelowna



MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release
June 21, 2016

Opposition committee hears agricultural concerns in Kelowna

Kelowna, B.C. – The Opposition Standing Committee for Agriculture and Food heard from farmers, food security and labour advocates last week that more work needs to be done to support, protect and promote B.C. agriculture.

“Hearing from the presenters in Kelowna confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt how important it is for this Committee to continue our work. Farmers and leaders in the food industry are raising critical issues that have been ignored for far too long,” said MLA and Committee Chair Lana Popham. “We heard from producers about many of the challenges they face, and the breadth of policy proposals they put forward shows that the government should be doing a lot more to support local food production.”

Presenters spoke about opportunities and barriers to selling locally, as well as a proposal to limit non-farm use on ALR land. The committee also heard presentations on organic food production, pesticide use, aquifer contamination, consumer co-ops, and the need to improve conditions for farm labourers employed through the Temporary Foreign Worker program.

“The working and living conditions temporary farm workers are often forced to endure are shameful and irresponsible,” says Committee Vice-Chair and Independent MLA Vicki Huntington. “These workers are vital to B.C. agriculture, and more regulation and enforcement is needed at the local, provincial, and federal levels to ensure their rights are protected.”

Popham says the committee will hold additional hearings this summer and fall before making recommendations to the B.C. legislature.

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BC Opposition Standing Committee for Agriculture and Food is comprised of:
Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South and Opposition Spokesperson for Agriculture and Food (Chair)
Vicki Huntington, MLA for Delta South (Vice-Chair)
Robin Austin, MLA for Skeena
Raj Chouhan, MLA for Burnaby Edmonds
Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West
Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River Sunshine Coast (absent)

Website: bcagcom.ca
Opposition Standing Committee for Agriculture and Food, First Report, November 2015

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