Agriculture issues raised in telephone meeting

A recent tele-town hall meeting hosted by the Independent MLA for Cariboo North suggests those in the agriculture industry are concerned.

A recent tele-town hall meeting hosted by the Independent MLA for Cariboo North suggests those in the agriculture industry are concerned about changes to the inspection system, agricultural waste, carbon tax and invasive plants.

Callers representing 81 households dialed in to take part in the meeting held over the telephone.

MLA Bob Simpson says there is a new consultation process, by invitation only, looking at changing the system from using federal inspectors to a made-in-B.C. solution.

“The problem with the federal inspection agency is they only work business hours and many of our smaller abattoirs work evenings and weekends,” Simpson explains.

When he asked if anyone had been consulted on the new change, he heard that no one had, and 85 per cent of the people participating in the town hall meeting said they do want to be consulted.

People want to resolve the inspection issue so that it’s more accessible, Simpson says, but adds that the fundamental question is who will pay for the service.

“The government is looking at potentially a fee for service so it would be an additional cost for our abattoirs. That’s why they want to be involved with the consultation,” he explains.

When it came to agriculture waste, the conversation focused on a recent discussion paper that was released by the ministry of agriculture that caught everyone by surprise.

“The end date for giving feedback was March 31.

“I first heard about it at the beginning of March and basically my phone and e-mails lit up with people in our area who are very concerned about the direction our government is going in,” Simpson says, adding that many were telling him that regulations are already in place, but that they are not being enforced.

There’s a difference in size between dairy farms in the Fraser Valley and farms in the Cariboo, Simpson heard.

“People calling in were saying that the government should deal with the larger farms that have production issues, but not be punitive to the entire industry.”

When callers were asked if the carbon tax should be excluded for the agricultural industry or eliminated completely, 40 per cent of the callers said it should be excluded for agriculture, while 60 per cent thought it should be eliminated completely.

“One of the callers, Duncan Barnett from the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association, said they are looking at a third alternative, which is can you return the tax to the industry so that the tax money is used to help the industry change practices?” Simpson says, noting it was good to have a third option put forward.

When the topic switched to invasive plants, it was gleaned that 95 per cent of the callers have them on their agricultural property, 30 per cent have received some level of government support to deal with the plants, and 97 per cent believe the government has to be more aggressive in dealing with invasive plants.

Simpson describes invasive plants as one of those “sneaky incremental” problems on the land base that make the land base unproductive and costs literally billions of dollars in lost economic opportunity.

“I’m hearing that people in my riding do not think we’ve got a handle on the problem at all and I will be taking that back to the minister of forests and lands,” he says.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty advises Conservative leader Erin O’Toole on mental health and wellness. (House of Commons Photography)
Cariboo-Prince Goerge MP calling for 1-year deadline to establish 3-digit suicide hotline

Todd Doherty’s motion calling for 9-8-8 as a national hotline passed unanimously in December

Cool Clear Water on Mackenzie Avenue posted a sign on its board for its neighbour, Integra Tire. (Photo submitted)
Sign Wars building life of its own in Williams Lake

Lakecity business have joined in on the fun initiative sweeping the province

The next welding program being offered at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus will be tuition-free thanks to federal funding. (Thompson Rivers University photo)
So you want to be a welder?

TRU Williams Lake offering tuition-free program

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Most Read