Common Sense Canadian

Agricultural Land Commission CEO fired by BC Liberal govt

PostedMay 15, 2015 by in Western Canada
Peace River Valley farmland (Damien Gillis)

Peace River Valley farmland (Damien Gillis)

Read this May 14 story by the Richmond Review on the BC Liberal government’s decision to fire Agricultural Land Commission CEO Richard Bullock after he pushed back on the province’s erosion farmland protections.

The B.C. government has fired Agricultural Land Commission board chair and CEO Richard Bullock, and will pay out his five-year contract until it ends in November, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said Thursday.

Bullock will be replaced effective immediately by long-time Saanich mayor Frank Leonard, who was voted out after nearly 20 years in last fall’s civic elections.

Letnick said with new regulations taking effect to manage the Agricultural Land Reserve with two zones, it was time to make a change and let Leonard and the board choose a new CEO.

The B.C. government has been at odds with Bullock since early in his five-year term, when he stopped appointing commissioners to six regional panels around the province.

The opposition New Democrats say the move is another example of the Liberals attacking B.C. farmland.

“Richard Bullock has been an effective advocate for the protection of farmland in British Columbia. Instead of thanking him, the Liberals are showing him the door before the end of his term,” said New Democrat agriculture spokesperson Lana Popham. “By firing him the B.C. Liberals are continuing their war on B.C.’s agricultural land.”

Popham noted that Bullock fought back against B.C. Liberal MLA and former Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm when he tried to interfere in an application before the commission, which took courage and conviction.

“Bullock is a true champion for agriculture, who is respected by all sectors of the agriculture industry for his expertise and fair-mindedness,” Popham said. “This is a critical time for B.C. agriculture, as the Liberals prepare to release new regulations stemming from Bill 24, which weakened farmland protections on 90 per cent of ALR land. By replacing B.C.’s agricultural watch dog with someone with no background in agriculture, the B.C. Liberals are making it clear that their attack on the ALR has only just begun.”

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About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.


    scotty on denman

    The neo-right infection of the ALR, the liquidation of its flesh—the soil—piped to BC Liberal crony-broods throughout rural regions of the province, enzymatically pre-digests farm-preservation red tape for various uses: freshly infected farmland almost instantly offers itself as canvas for the basest of civil arts, residential and commercial retail development where, as decaying Detroit has found, fertile soil is encapsulated under concrete and asphalt, protected from many contaminating pollutants and ready for resumed farm use as soon as the carcass of consumer culture has been cleared away in a century or two.

    The ALR’s been completely infected with the priorities of the fossil-fuel industry, diminishing the Reserve’s authority to ameliorate degradation of farm-production potential—some of which is permanent—that comes with with gas fracking and piping. Nonetheless, the geo-gigantism of these developments exposes them to additional authorities and regulations outside the jurisdiction of the current BC government. Although technically dams don’t degrade farm-potential permanently, they effectively take the soil out of production for the life of the dam; dams are such huge undertakings, it’s currently looks quite likely initial development of Site-C will be delayed by injunction and judicial process for a substantial portion of the two years left in the BC Liberal mandate—maybe even longer. The post-BC Liberal contingency will be to contractually obligate public authorities to development concepts in principle, to commence long after an election loss scenario— on the presumption that an NDP government would rescind such erosion of the farm-land base.

    The BC Liberal infection of BC Hydro is particularly severe, the zombified host redirecting precious life-blood to proposed mines in BC’s northwest, even as parasitic IPPs suck it out elsewhere with bankrupting inefficiency. Northern developments are indirectly related to the ALR by way of the Peace’s Site-C which is supposed to supply the electricity required by new mines and for LNG—which, now that long term LNG market-price has collapsed, calls into serious question the real need for Site-C outside of the fattening ticks, mites, leeches and fleas of neo-right cronyism. No pun intended: the BC Liberal mines policy has been a disaster. Fortunately many of these proposals are years from shovels-in-the-ground—while the BC Liberals are less than two from theirs.

    tom baker

    We need to grow more food here in B.C. We don’t need more power to sell to the states!! California is using recycled “FRACK” water to irrigate their crops , then we in Canada buy and consume their crops ?? Sound healthy?? Goes with GMO products. NO FARMS NO FOOD!!!

    Shelley Falk-Ouellette

    This is just another back door move by Christy Clark and her corrupt government. They will go to any length to ruin and destroy what is left of our #1 and 2 agricultural land. The legacy seeking premier will ram her dangerous and risky LNG and site C dam down our throats if we don’t put a stop to it now. The flood zone of the proposed site C dam will flood a valley of #1 and 2 agricultural land that has rare alluvial soil and can potentially feed one million British Columbians. We need food security as the cost of imported produce and fruit continues to rise during a significant drought in California. We import more than half our food from there while we could raise it ourselves and pay a fraction of the price we pay now!

    Moe Lyons

    Can someone explain this part?: “The B.C. government has been at odds with Bullock since early in his five-year term, when he stopped appointing commissioners to six regional panels around the province.”

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