Last try for Bill 24 consultation


The best chance to act on Bill 24, the bill to kill British Columbia’s ALR, is now.

If you just want to act immediately, take this action first: Go to West Coast Environmental Law’s page titled “Tell the BC Government: Hands off our food security! Scroll down to the online form. Complete and send it.

Note: When completing the form, be sure to fill in your postal code so that a copy will automatically go to your MLA.

By the way lately, one of my own steps lately was a 3,550-word letter to the MLAs that one MLA read to the legislature in an animated voice.

MLA Michelle MungallUpdate on Bill 24 to May 15, 2014

Bill 24 took two turns on May 14.

  • For better: MLA Michelle Mungall (right) made a motion to enable the people of B.C. to finally be consulted. Bill Bennett, the minister behind the bill, had said months ago there would be consultation through the finance committee. The MLA therefore moved to refer the bill to that committee, which will tour the province soon, listening to witnesses.
  • For worse: New agriculture minister Norm Letnick, who had promised wide consultation before Bennett publicly shut him up, then told the legislature “The government will not be supporting the motion to refer.”  In other words, the government refuses to listen.

MLAs like Ms. Mungall will keep speaking out for the people to be heard, but Letnick and all the government MLAs will eventually have to vote the way they’re told or be punished. Unless the citizens and other stakeholders are persuasive with the premier, the motion to listen will be defeated.

Citizens are now getting emails from Minister Letnick that promise to consult after Bill 24 is passed. That’s too late.

Fortunately, the legislature has a break now, starting with May 15. It returns on May 26 for a final four-day week before a four-month break. Unless the premier listens first, the government MLAs will be ordered to cut off all debate about listening to citizens or protecting farmland and pass the bill to kill the ALR that week.

The motion to refer Bill 24 to public consultation has made it simpler to act. The citizens and other stakeholders are simply trying to persuade the premier and fellow citizens that the government should pause to listen.

Bill 24 eliminates most of the protection of nine-tenths of B.C.’s scarce ALR  farmland. It also eliminates the genuine independence of the Agricultural Land Commission. It is akin to the founding of the ALR forty years ago, but in reverse. The other difference is that all parties supported farmland protection then, whereas only a powerful few want to end it. At this point, we are just asking the powers-that-be to listen before they act.

 

Ways for citizens to act

1. Ask the premier to act in a better way.

Just go to West Coast Environmental Law’s page titledTell the BC Government: Hands off our food security!You can read the description of the issue or just scroll down to the online form. When completing the form, be sure to fill in your postal code so that a copy will automatically go to your MLA.

 

2. Write to the media, especially in “letters to the editor” to the local newspapers.

At this time, we want the government to consult the citizens before the legislature votes on Bill 24, the bill to kill the ALR.

It is important to send your messages ASAP so as to have a good chance of being published early in the week of May 19–24.

 

Ways for local governments to act:

Local governments have been requesting to be consulted on Bill 24 before the legislature votes on passing it. Minister Letnick, speaking for the government, has now refused to consult. Any follow-up action by the local governments will need to occur soon enough to be publicized well before Monday, May 26.

 

Background about the motion to refer

See Hansard for May 14, 2014, including these parts:

  •  MLA Michelle Mungall’s motion at around 15:32: “That Bill (No. 24) not be read a second time now but the subject matter be referred to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services and further that the committee be empowered to invite witnesses to appear before it to assist in its deliberations.”
  • Hon. Norm Letnick’s resonse at around 16:12: “I understand the current motion before the House is to refer Bill 24 to the Finance Committee and wish to convey to the House that the government will not be supporting the motion to refer.”
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3 Comments »

  1. 1
    Marjorie Stewart Says:

    I’ve shared on my FB timeline. Even if all we achieve is to flush out the contempt of this BC government for food sustainability that is something.. And maybe some Liberal MLAs will surprise us.

  2. […] can learn more about the campaign to Kill Bill 24 here and here (easy email links […]

  3. 3
    Evelyn Hunter Says:

    Simply…living organisms need clean fresh water, clean air and good earth to survive. We must protect the agricultural land we have to survive. this is a small planet if we (humans) continue down the path we’re on we will be in the darkest age imaginable. We must start somewhere NOW. One step towards this is to save the ALR.

    So many of us have lost connection to the natural world that sustains all life. The planet doesn’t need humans to survive WE need the earth to survive.

    All the paper money, gold and oil will not be worth anything, fresh water, air and real food is the real necessity of life.

    Kill Bill 24 it’s common sense!


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