Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pay to Play in BC with farmland

1. BC has no restrictions on foreign donors to political parties.
2. BC has no restrictions on foreign ownership of farmland.
3. Legislation protecting farmland is a provincial responsibility.

In 1974, BC passed Agricultural Land Reserve legislation to protect farmland but two years ago Christie Clark's government weakened its mandate :

National Farmers Union : 
Losing Our Grip 2015 Update : How Corporate Farmland Buy-up, Rising Farm Debt, and Agribusiness Financing of Inputs Threaten Family Farms

"On May 30 2014, the BC government weakened BC's farmland protection legislation by passing the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act. The new law creates two tiers with reduced protection for 90% of the Agricultural Land Reserve : the Interior (1,528,968 acres), Kootenay (392,557 acres), and the North (2,210,783 acres). These three regions of BC are the most affected by oil, gas, and coal industry development."

Foreign companies buying B.C. farmland to earn carbon credits ...
Last year it came to light that the UK chemical company Reckitt Benckiser bought 10,500 hectares of agricultural land in the ALR in Northern BC and planted it with over 7 million trees to offset the carbon emissions of its manufacturing operations. 

Western Investor May 31 2016 B.C BC's largest land agent really deals in water
From verdant farmland to oceanfront and lakefront escapes, world demand is turning to what the West Coast has in abundance
LandQuest Realty Corp. ... said the biggest international demand is for farmland ...  China-based buyers were the first foreign climate-driven investors to begin buying B.C. farmland, primarily for hay crops. 
“We market British Columbia to the world.”
Despite the growing international interest, Osborne confirms that Canadians still make up about 85 per cent of LandQuest buyers, and this demand ranges from farms and ranches to urban retreats and trophy recreational titles.

BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong said he was not in favour of a tax on foreign investment, fearing it sends the wrong message to the Asia Pacific investors B.C. has been courting for years.

Under public pressure for the inclusion of real estate companies in her recent trade junket to Malaysia and Korea, unregulated foreign investment in urban housing, undisclosed $20K per donor private-access-to-Clark Liberal fundraising events, and her yearly $50K salary top up from the BC Liberal Party, Christie Clark's government began officially tracking foreign ownership of BC farmland for the first time yesterday.

h/t RossK@The Gazetteer for Western Investor link


Anonymous said...

Last month BC Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser cleared Christy Clark on her special fundraising dinners.

Paul Fraser's son John Paul Fraser was an Enbridge lobbyist in Christy Clark's former hubby's company. Then he was deputy minister in charge of Government Communications and Public Engagement for Christy Clark.

Yeah, no problem there.

Boris said...

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

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