BC‚Äôs legislature is back in session. Per tradition, the new sitting kicked off February 12 with the province‚Äôs lieutenant governor, Janet Austin, delivering the speech from the throne.
‚ÄúAgriculture is an important part of BC‚Äôs economy,‚ÄĚ Austin told members of the legislature in a section of the speech headed, ‚ÄúJobs in every community.‚ÄĚ The focus of the section were the primary industries, including fishing and farming, and emphasized the province‚Äôs commitment to ‚Äúincreasing local processing, promoting Indigenous partnerships, and creating jobs and opportunity for local workers and rural communities.‚ÄĚ
What that means for agriculture is more protection for farmland, something agriculture minister Lana Popham has pledged to do as she acts on recommendations to revitalize the Agricultural Land Commission and Agricultural Land Reserve.
‚ÄúGovernment is working to protect farmland and developing new markets for BC agricultural products,‚ÄĚ Austin said, a nod to an initiative to enable health authorities to buy more BC food product for patients.
A food security task force is also planned, which the throne speech says will, ‚Äúconsider how BC can harness new technologies and innovation to produce more food, jobs and prosperity, while reducing waste.‚ÄĚ
The speech also acknowledged plans to end salmon farming in the Broughton Archipelago. By supporting wild salmon, the government will ‚Äúcreate a more sustainable future for local communities and workers.‚ÄĚ
The throne speech voices the government‚Äôs priorities for the coming session. On February 19, the province will deliver its budget for the coming year, which will set forth spending and how it intends to finance its expenditures.