Thursday, January 19, 2017

Saanich News: Agriculture remains a priority ahead of election

MLA Report
By Lana Popham
Reprinted from the Saanich News, January 17 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on my past work and share with you how I intend to move forward.
This will be my final MLA Report before the provincial election on May 9.
In the past 10 months I have contributed 18 columns to the Saanich News. I’ve written on a range of topics from the need to improve public education to the painful reality faced by people on a low income; from the economic and social benefits that would result from improved child care options for young families to protecting precious places like Elk/Beaver Lake and demanding meaningful action on climate change.
A huge thank you to the Saanich News for allowing me the opportunity to share my opinions directly with our community. This paper has done a public service by publishing regular “MLA Reports” - they give readers a convenient tool to assess the work of their elected representatives.
This spring marks my completion of eight years’ work as your MLA. In many ways it is an investment: you have invested your trust and your hard-earned tax-dollars in me.
In return I have poured all my energy into working for you. From my community office I’ve helped hundreds of people who are struggling or in crisis. I’ve organized and hosted dozens of community gatherings and public meetings on topics brought forward by residents. This work has led to tangible accomplishments such as improvements to the Pat Bay Highway and it has enlivened the community through public events such as the one I organized with the Royal B.C. Museum. Rarely-seen treasures from the museum’s collection were brought directly to Claremont secondary school and to a free public evening event.
In addition I have not shied away from taking up controversial issues on behalf of the community. This has included work on everything from fighting inadequate restrictions on sex offenders, to a forum on the medical use of cannabis, to public advocacy on the need for improved medical assistance in dying.
In the B.C. Legislature I have worked just as hard. As a member of the official opposition, I have drafted and introduced Bills and formal statements. I’ve held the premier and ministers to account for their failures and misdeeds during long debates and hostile question periods.
I’ve learned a huge amount in the official opposition. My colleagues and I have studied policy and proposed far-reaching plans and practical solutions for the challenges we face in B.C. But to bring this work to life we need to be in government.
As the opposition spokesperson for agriculture I have travelled to every corner of the province and met with hundreds of farmers and leaders in the BC food industry. After listening closely I developed a comprehensive plan for how we can strengthen agriculture in BC. But again, to turn these ideas into reality I need to be part of the government.
I want to put what I’ve learned and what you’ve invested in me over the past eight years to good use. That is why I’m sharing with you now that I intend to run for re-election. You will be the judge of my work and you will make the final decision about what to do with your investment in me.
But until the “Election Writ Drops” on April 11, I will continue happily on as the Member of B.C. legislature for Saanich South. It remains my privilege to assist you with provincial matters and represent you in the BC Legislature. I welcome your feedback.
You can reach me at 250-479-4154 or by email at lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca.
Lana Popham is the MLA for Saanich South