Letter to the editor: Bennett altering the ALR

The BC Liberal government has now entrusted the provincial Core Review to Kootenay East MLA Bennett...

Having made a shambles of power production in B.C. by privatizing it, the BC Liberal government has now entrusted the provincial Core Review to Kootenay East MLA Bennett with the task of altering, beyond recognition, the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

And while he is unwilling to accept opposition to his plans from the BC Agricultural Council, representing 14,000 farmers province-wide, he is only too willing to use extracts from a letter to the editor written by one local farmer (see ‘3 facts you should know’, The Free Press, April 17) who is, coincidentally, a life-long supporter of Social Credit/BC Liberal politics.

Mr. Bennett’s move to lay waste the ALR is also perfectly in keeping with the ideology of Regional District of East Kootenay Area A Director Mike Sosnowski who considers the ALR “tyranny” and that “land is only land.” Both are no doubt sincere in their belief that you can concrete over farmland with no loss of agricultural potential.

Mr. Bennett has claimed, in a recent phone interview with journalist Bill Tieleman, that he’s making his move on the ALR because he “… has been listening to his constituents for 13 (expletive deleted) years.”

Did he also listen to former B.C. Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm who stood by while an Arizona developer built, in Pimm’s constituency of Peace River North, a racetrack and five acre parking lot in defiance of an ALC ruling? If this unethical behaviour is accepted with the ALC regulations as they are, what sort of corrupt debacle will ensue when the ALC is eradicated?

More recently Mr. Bennett has stated that the consultation process advocated by current agriculture minister Norm Letnick “will not delay or fundamentally alter” his plans.

What many do not realize is that Mr. Bennett is using the Core Review as a smokescreen for the visceral ill-will which he has for both NDP philosophy and NDP supporters. It will, at last, provide him with the opportunity of destroying the remaining major achievement of the 1972-75 BC NDP government.

It is entirely possible that Bennett has, as he claims, been listening, if only to those who agree with his position on the ALR.

It is equally possible that he has turned a deaf ear to those who do not.

JC Vallance

Fernie, B.C.