2011 federal election and the Garden City Lands

    At the Beth Tikvah forum last Thursday, the four Richmond Riding candidates in the federal election were asked a couple of Garden City lands questions. I found the answers to be informed and committed.

    Early on, all four candidates showed how they’d win a federal minister’s support for funding to bring out the lands’ natural potential. Michael Wolfe enthused about the species there, including endangered ones, and about ways “we can do an amazing job of producing food for the community” on parts of the lands.

    Dale Jackaman passionately took up the theme: “For the first time in a federal election, food security has become an issue. And it has to be an issue.” Joe Peschisolido linked it to quality of life. “It’s a wonderful piece of land,” said MP Alice Wong.

    Later, someone suggested a hospital site on the lands. Joe Peschisolido was clear: “No, we ought not to build a hospital on the Garden City lands.” Likewise, Dale Jackaman said, “Personally, no.”

    Michael Wolfe said, “Hospital on the Garden City lands? No.” He had earlier reminded everyone the lands are in the ALR, and he added why all levels of governments should stand up for the ALR.

    One of the federal mistakes with the ill-fated 2005 Garden City lands agreement was that it presumed the ALR status could be brushed aside. Surely the lesson has been learned, and repeating the error would be doubly odd when every party is making food-security promises.

    Alice Wong thanked Michael Wolfe for taking her on an eco-tour of the lands, and all acknowledged his expertise. In that and other ways, it was great to see that the Garden City lands have become—both figuratively and literally—common ground.

For context, I recommend the Richmond News article titled “Richmond candidates square off at synagogue.”


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