I wrote about the ALR and Bill 24 last post, but then this letter popped into my mailbox today and I knew I had to spread the word. I had the pleasure of working with Corky Evans on the campaign to save the Formosa Blueberry farm. This is a picture of him with one of the farm owners, Risa Lin. He was in opposition then, the agriculture critic. We lost the fight and a big chunk of the farm was needlessly paved. He was heartbroken over it. Corky has since retired from politics and has taken up farming. His farm includes blueberries that were cultivated at Formosa.
Read his impassioned plea below, urging people to take action on Bill 24. In my experience, when Corky speaks, people listen, well beyond party lines. Let’s hope the current government tunes in.
Open Letter to Almost Everybody,
My name is Corky Evans. I garden and farm in the Kootenays of B.C. Many years ago I was the Minister of Agriculture. I do not understand popular culture or electronic communication. I have not learned to do Facebook. What I have been told is that when people find something interesting from someone they trust, they send it on to other people and in this way it is possible to engage more people, faster, than ever before. I have decided that this technology that I do not understand may be the last chance we have to influence the Government of B.C. not to dismantle the historical protection of farmland where we live. I am not going to try to explain the issue or the history or the legislation that is being debated in Victoria as I write. You do not have to know that stuff to know that food is important and that land to grow food on needs to be protected from being paved over. That is all you need to know. For forty years we have had rules in B.C. that protected farm land pretty well. This week the Government is trying to pass a law that will destroy the protection of farmland. The Government didn’t think up this idea. They got it from the Fraser Institute. You may have heard of those people. They represent the largest Corporations and Banks in the Province. They are not known for caring a great deal about public policy. They will get richer paving farmland than by leaving it alone. I think lots of the MLAs in Victoria know this law they are debating is a bad law. The law is opposed by Greens, New Democrats and Independents. They are, as I write, trying to delay passage to give citizens a chance to learn what is happening and react. I think it also opposed by some Liberal members who are too afraid to speak publicly. You can research everything I am saying if you have time. If you don’t have time, and if you got this letter from someone you trust, I beg you to take 5 minutes to try and stop this law. I do not care, by the way, if it is stopped forever. I just want it stopped until citizens understand what is happening and get to have a say before the Government wrecks something of great importance for our shared future. If you have 5 minutes here is what you do: You look in the phone book for the number of your MLA and call them and say you don’t want them to pass Bill 24. Or you send them an e-mail by looking here to find their address. Then you send this request to the people who trust your judgement enough to read it. This probably won’t work. I am asking, though, because nothing else will. In a week or so we will all know how it turned out. Thank you for reading this.