Gateway & Farmland – Part 2

On May 2, 2006, then Minister of Agriculture, Pat Bell rescinded the appointment of Bill Jones to the South Coast Panel of the Agricultural Land Commission because Mr. Jones had made a comment on an exclusion application. In rescinding the appointment, Minister Bell stated, “Keeping in mind that the Agricultural Land Commission is a quasi –judicial body, and we need to ensure that it is being seen as an impartial body…”

The ALC only introduced its Conflict of Interest guidelines in March, when one of the panelists was found to be in direct conflict of interest and a decision of the Commission had to be reversed. But the BC Crown Agency Accountability guidelines would have covered Karlsen before that, and I believe by those he is clearly in a conflict of interest.

Remember – Pat Bell rescinded Bill Jones’ appointment to the South Coast Panel 2006 because Jones had made statements supporting one proposal. Karlsen was one of the authors of what is the original Gateway Project, and he is in a wildly obvious conflict of interest.

it appears that with the exception of 3 or 4 caucus members, the BC NDP under Carol James are simply not willing to fight for farmland.

So Campbell gets a Gateway supporter ensconsed as Chair of the Commission, he stacks the panels with party loyalists, like John Tomlinson (Langley Chamber of Commerce)…

I’ll attach to the next email the article “the Delta Boys” – which is as relevant today as it was back when Spedifore lands were removed from the ALR. A couple of the names have changed, but that’s all. They are still Socred/Liberal community power brokers, including John Savage and Ron Toigo. This impact of these good ol boys on the politics of farming is such that most of the farmers in Delta are terrified to speak up.

Enter lawyer and cranberry farmer Ralph May. Member of the Liberal Party executive in Richmond, but active in Delta because he has cranberry farms there.

Tony Pellett of the ALC told me that the Gateway Project was good for farming, because the province was putting money into drainage and dyking. When we gave Green Party Leader Jane Sterk a tour of the SFPR last year we visited the Hamming Farm. The Hammings told me that the Gateway mitigation measures will have no benefit for most Delta farmers, but will be of benefit to “a select few”. Harold Steves – who considers Ralph May a friend, they have been fellow Richmond farmers for many years and there is no ill will involved – says that the May cranberry farms benefits the most.

That’s a problem, given that May was the negotiator with the province on behalf of the farmers.

The Commission is supposed to operate at an arms’ length from the government. Yet, when Larry Pynn wrote the attached piece pointing out that the Gateway boys had started construction even before the Commission had ruled, the Commission issued its decision later that day.

Farmers along SFPR.pdf

ALC Conditionally approves SFPR.pdf

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