NDP silent as B.C. agriculture and aquaculture industries devastated by heat wave, say BC Liberals

AS B.C. farmers, growers and fishers contend with damaged crops, stressed poultry and livestock, dead shellfish and significant economic losses following the recent heat wave, Premier John Horgan and the NDP are offering little reassurance they will do anything to help them, the BC Liberals said on Monday.

“These are strong, resilient people by nature but they need to know their government is there for them in difficult times,” said BC Liberal Agriculture and Food Critic and Delta South MLA Ian Paton. “Instead, they’re getting dismissed by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham who believes ‘B.C. food producers don’t need (our) sympathy.’ It’s just another example of the NDP’s dismissive attitude toward people’s suffering.”

And just like Horgan and the NDP were warned about the damaging effects a heat wave could pose on people — that same 2019 report that they ignored also warned them about the high risk of agricultural damage, said the BC LIberals. The true extent of the impacts of the heat wave continue to emerge, as berry and tree fruit growerspoultry and dairy farmers, and aquaculture operators share their stories.

“Just as the heat wave tragically affected people, it’s also having a serious effect on the agriculture and aquaculture sectors,” said BC Liberal Fisheries and Aquaculture Critic Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. “Instead of dismissing the concerns of farmers, growers and fishers, this minister and Premier need to tell them what supports might be available to help ease their catastrophic losses — losses which are coming on the heels of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”