Agriculture minister Lana Popham was under fire again this week because of her plans to strip away the rights of any landowner with property located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
During question period at the Legislature, Popham clung to her defence that all changes to the ALR and the governing Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) are being done in the name of “food security.”
This includes a new legal definition of the word ‘persons’, which would be limited only to ‘governments.’ This change will prohibit individual landowners from altering the use of their own land by removing their ability to file an exclusion application.
So if you are a farmer or a rancher who purchased land within the ALR, the NDP wants you to know that government knows how best to manage your private property.
We are not talking about a return to the 1990s under the old NDP. Popham wants to roll back any progressive changes made since 1973, when the ALR was hastily assembled by former NDP Premier Dave Barrett.
Popham also claims that other jurisdictions in the world envy the ALR, and wish they had brought in the same thing. The fact is no other jurisdiction in the country has adopted a similar approach in the past 45 years. So if Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the rest of Canada manage their agricultural lands quite well without any ALR, why does the NDP feel this system is so important?
To explain this zealous regard for NDP policy heirlooms, it is worth remembering that B.C. is also the only province with a public monopoly on auto insurance called ICBC. The ALR and ICBC are two of the NDP’s most sacred institutions. Horgan and Popham will defend them at all costs, regardless of the fact that they are stale leftovers from nearly a half century ago.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.