Premier, Letnick and MLAs get deluge of email against Bill 24

Statistics from West Coast Environmental Law’s “Hands off our food security” reveal an onslaught of emails from opponents of Bill 24 who want at least a pause for the public consultation that was promised and then reneged on.

The “Hands off our food security” response aid makes it easier to send emails so people with little time or modest writing skill can make their voices heard. It had been running for almost two months with an ongoing stream of messages urging the government not to pass Bill 24 and give farmland more protection, not less. With Bill 24, the protection of farmland would be practically gone in nine-tenths of the province and badly compromised in the other tenth, mainly because the Agricultural would be weakened and far less independent.

Norm LetnickLately the stream of messages has become a river, as seen in the example of Norm Letnick (right), Minister of Agriculture:

  • As of Tuesday, May 20, 2014, the statistics show that citizens had used Hands off our food security” to send 1811 messages to Letnick to urge him to not pass Bill 24. That amounted to a strong statement of disapproval.
  • However, within three days the number of messages asking Letnick to say No had jumped to 2750.
    As of Friday, May 23, the increase in that short period
    was well over 50%.

File 154Similarly, for Premier Christy Clark (right), the increase was from 1897 on May 20 to 2837 on May 23. In other words, the flow of messages asking the premier to not pass the bill also increased by over 50% in only three days.

John YapFor some MLAs, the increase was even more striking:

  • With MLA John Yap (left) of Richmond Steveston, the number of constituents sending him messages against Bill 24 went from 3 to 32 in three days. There were also big jumps for the other two Richmond MLAs: Teresa Wat from 7 to 19 and Linda Reid from 6 to 30.
  • With MLA Dan Ashton(right), the number of constituents asking him to stop Bill 24 went from 10 to 68 in those three days. His Penticton constituency also includes Naramata, Summerland and Peachland—orchard and vineyard country.

Citizens have used many other ways to express their displeasure with Bill 24. Garden City Conservation has been copied on a large number of emails to the premier, agriculture minister and MLAs, and they typically come across as well reasoned and deeply felt. There are also petitions, including IntegrityBC’s “Hands off BC’s Agricultural Land Commission” petition to the premier, with 8793 signers.

Even though the government backed out of public consultation, the public have found ways to speak out. Ministers like Letnick then downplayed it, but the “Hands off our food security” statistics are reliable, and they show a powerful trend. The Letnick message lately amounts to a grinning “Tough luck, shmucks, ya can’t stop us.” They’re not grinning back.

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