I hope everyone had a good weekend and had a chance to enjoy the warmer weather. I love this time of year, with calving season just beginning; I always enjoy these first signs of spring.
Ranching is a central industry and culture here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Although it is not an easy business, I am proud of the resilience our ranchers have shown in the face of all kinds of challenges. I have always supported the ranching industry, and I know the success of our ranchers is key to the success of our region. That’s why every time I am in Victoria, I work hard to make sure the voices of our ranchers are heard.
This work has paid off, with initiatives like a responsible predator management plan. Wolves are a big concern for ranchers, and we want to help them manage the impact of wolves on their livestock. With measures like additional trapping opportunities on private land, having no closed season for livestock areas, and having no bag limit in areas of concern, we are reducing the number of wolves in these areas.
We have also been working on building more fences to help ranchers. From 2004 to 2007, we invested $9 million to build 588 kilometres of fencing. That’s more than enough fencing to build a fence from here to Vancouver. And we plan to build even more — from 2010 to 2015 we’ve committed to building another 700 kms of fence.
Ranchers work hard for B.C. and we will support them through measures that help make them more competitive internationally. Budget 2013 includes plans for a carbon tax exemption on coloured fuel to be brought in during the fall; this exemption will cover the coloured fuel, or purple gas, used by farmers in on-farm equipment and eligible farm vehicles. This is the result of our government working with producers, listening to their suggestions, and acting on them.
I’d like to thank all our ranchers for their hard work. You have endured drought, fires, changing cattle prices and many other challenges. You show us all how hard work and resilience can pay off, and I will continue to do everything I can to support you.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.