VICTORIA— After the B.C. Liberals ignored numerous concerns about ALR land misuse – the Cariboo communities and New Democrat agriculture spokesperson Lana Popham have finally been heard.
“We reached out to the government about the misuse of ALR land countless times, but Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick never made the issue a priority,” said Popham. “Although it wasn’t a government priority, our advocacy efforts have seem to be heard and addressed by Reckitt Benckiser, a company currently using over 10,500 hectares of ALR land for a carbon credit scheme.”
After listening to concerns from Popham and the communities affected, RB responded by pausing land purchases, seed purchases, and tree planting on ALR land while they conduct an internal review of the practice.
“I’m hopeful that Reckitt Benckiser is addressing our concerns, but Minister Letnick still hasn’t taken action to prevent this as well as future incidences from happening,” said Popham. “The B.C. Liberals are failing miserably in showing leadership, while Minister Letnick sits back and allows this corporation to decide the direction of ALR land use.”
“With only five per cent of B.C. land suitable for agriculture, it is crucial that legislation is put in place immediately to protect that land,” said Popham.
Popham recently proposed the Protecting Agriculture Lands Act which would ensure that the ALR is better monitored, regulated, and protected through the Agricultural Land Commission. If the Protecting Agriculture Lands Act is passed – then the ALC could ensure that agricultural land is used for farming while preventing major breaches from occurring.