Ag land reserve needs reassessment; does it work?

Editor: Integrity BC says, ‘Ministers don’t interfere in the work of quasi-judicial tribunals if they do, they resign.’

Editor:

We must use common sense. Integrity BC says, ‘Ministers don’t interfere in the work of quasi-judicial tribunals – if they do, they resign.’ This might work in a perfect world but, if the world re: ALC (Agricultural Land Commission), is not perfect, and shows signs of being undemocratic, unfair, dishonest  and possibly corrupt, then  Integrity BC must agree a core review is both warranted and necessary. Mr. Travis asks, “Just because the government doesn’t want to dismantle it, doesn’t mean that the government, in Bennett’s words, thinks the commission is perfect or that every piece of land that was put in there, should be there.” What exactly do those ominous words mean for the ALC?

We hope it means that no longer will the ALC be able to continue to put forestry land (barely or not suitable for agriculture) into the Land Reserve for our grandchildren to try to farm; to erroneously reflect it is doing a good job of preserving agricultural land, while it consistently lets out our best number one, two and three land to cities, then adds or preserves non-farmland like ours in the reserve to show that  the ALR is as intact as ever.

We hope it means no longer will it be able to allow us to only farm our property, in the face of four expert agrologists who agree it is not farmable, The act of taking away any use for our land is prohibited by law in our Canadian Constitution. Non-transparent is any data showing how much number one, two and three land it has let out compared to how much number four, five and six it includes to keep the numbers looking good.

This idealistic agency which was given unlimited power to save our foodlands, has failed here in the north, and I suspect in all of BC. The last 20 of the 30 year reign of the ALC, we have seen more loss of our foodlands from direct decisions made by the ALC than ever happened before it was initiated. Again, honest stats would show how successful or unsuccessful it really is. We have been asking for help for a long time for someone to insist the ALC justify their actions. Two heroes stepped up to the plate, The Honorable Pat Pimm & The Honorable Bill Bennett. Because Mr. Pimm did not cross his T’s and dot his I’s  is not the issue. Stop picking on Mr. Pimm for petty errors and please recognize he is trying to do the right thing.

Integrity BC is a non-profit which purports to be working to help restore accountability, transparency and integrity to B.C. politics. How can Integrity BC not agree this appointed agency, whom the people cannot vote out, that is not accountable to any citizen, government, or judicial court, that has been reportedly overstepping/abusing its power for years, requires a core review?

Most of us do better when we are accountable for our actions – I don’t doubt that includes the ALC. A  Land Commission accountable to our Ministry of Agriculture, and therefore to  the people who are in agreement to work to pay for their services to our grandchildren? Sounds like plain good common sense to me. Everybody wins.

Jo Middleton

Citizen Movement to Right Injustices of ALC

Fort St. John, BC

 

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