Cariboo-Chilcotin candidates discuss agriculture and education

The third set of questions the Tribune asked the candidates in the election is about their stance on agriculture and education as follows:

  • May. 6, 2013 9:00 a.m.

The third set of questions the Tribune asked the candidates running in the provincial election is about their stance on agriculture and education as follows:

What is needed to protect and enhance ranching and agriculture in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and the province in general? Specifically, what is needed to create a viable meat processing industry in B.C. for ranchers?

What is needed in B.C. to protect and enhance the public school system, especially in large districts such as School District 27?

Answers are as follows:

MLA Donna Barnett, Liberal Party (incumbent), Cariboo-Chilcotin

What is needed to protect and enhance ranching in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and the province:

1. Streamline red tape.

2. Continue with highway fencing program.

3. Relief from the Carbon Tax.

4. Greater assistance with predator control.

5. Easier access to global markets.

6. Land use planning needs greater consideration and input from the ranching community.

7. Easier access to federal/provincial agricultural programs.

8. Have our education system provide more agriculture programs.

Viable Meat processing industry in B.C.?

Provide easy and affordable access to slaughter and processing facilities.

Charlie Wyse, New Democratic Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

The Liberal government’s failure to work collaboratively with the meat processing and ranching sectors before imposing their meat regulation in 2004 has undermined the sector.

With that in mind, a New Democrat government will, to begin with, reach out to the sector to end the current chaotic and ad hoc approach being taken by the current government.

We are also hopeful that our Buy BC, Grow BC and Feed BC platform will create stronger domestic demand for BC meat products, and we will continue to work with stakeholders to develop international markets.

Dustin Price, B.C. Green Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

Whether we like it or not, rural communities are at the greatest risk in terms of food security.

We need to create a local market for local produce and meat to combat this issue.

In order to self-sustain our B.C. population we would need a 300 per cent increase of food production by 2026.

The BC Greens would focus on our ‘Buy BC’ plan which would ensure that local farmers and ranchers have a profitable market to deliver to, and local production would be encouraged.

Gary Young, Independent, Cariboo-Chilcotin

The question is not very definitive.

If the ranching community is in need of protection then we need to know what is the danger and have facts for us to act on.

Enhancing ranching?? Do you mean more cattle?

Agriculturally we could be growing seedlings here, get the hemp industry going and deal with it in a way it does not suffer the same fates as before.

Before we start some possible ventures in agriculture, we need a probable forecast of temperature predictions for the next five to 10 years.

On education:

MLA Donna Barnett, Liberal (incumbent), Cariboo-Chilcotin

Achieving long-term labour peace is key. Kids benefit when learning is not repeatedly disrupted.

This is why our government proposed an innovative framework to achieve a 10-year labour contract with teachers.

This framework would have a dedicated fund to address policy priorities, a policy council that includes teachers, and salary certainty.

Education is rural B.C. is changing.

To keep up, today’s B.C. Liberal government has been engaging in initiatives to ensure we continue to support rural learners and educators.

We’ve established the Provincial Rural Strategy Advisory Council to inform education policy development.  In partnership with UBC, we’ve worked to spread exemplary innovative practice that’s emerging from rural schools.

Our Rural Educator Network is helping educators access more learning opportunities, an we’ve partnered with the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation to encourage excellent in science in rural communities.

Today’s BC Liberals remain committed to providing the highest quality education for rural communities.

Charlie Wyse, New Democratic Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

We will work cooperatively with all districts to address the unique challenges they face.

One issue that effects all districts, however, is the increasing student-teacher ratio and the decline in the number of educational supports such as teacher-librarians and educational assistants.

We’ve committed to investing an additional $100 million a year into our education system to hire more staff so our children can get the individual attention they need to succeed.

Dustin Price, Green Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

Communities should have more control over education.

We recommend a re-structuring of the school system based on a community school model.

Greater control over schools should be transferred to local school boards from the provincial government in order to tailor policies to local community needs.

Gary Young, Independent, Cariboo-Chilcotin

Education is currently dealing with many declining enrolments, particularly in rural areas. Fewer enrolments means less funding and fewer teaching positions.

To enhance the school system we need to identify what skill will be needed in the coming five years and stay ahead with that focus.

Training for a job that may not be there is a poor way of managing education.  Aptitude testing in grades 10/11/12 would help students and the training sector to focus on participation but skills that will be needed.

In our larger geographical regions transportation to schools is a big issue and a large expense.

School boards need more direct dialogue on this, especially with other similar school districts. They are the ones who need to promote what will work most effectively.