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Business of Agriculture: CTF Joins Fraser Valley Farmers Protest
Dozens of Fraser Valley farmers—and two calves—invaded downtown Vancouver today to protest unfair and unaccountable application of the Fisheries Act outside the regional office of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
They were also there to support the launch of a new Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) petition calling on the federal government to reform the Act.
At the protest, Agassiz and area farmers told stories of digging ditches to drain agriculturally abundant Fraser Valley land, only to be told by the DFO that they can no longer farm within 30 metres of those ditches because they are now “fish habitat.” They have been forbidden from dredging their own ditches, leading to floods on their property, raising the water table and hurting their ability to graze cattle and grow crops.“The DFO is taking this land from these farmers without any concern about their livelihoods or understanding about agriculture,” said Jordan Bateman, CTF B.C. Director. “Why are we spending thousands or millions of dollars to employ Fisheries and Oceans bureaucrats to persecute in-land farmers?”
“Farms and fish have coexisted in this country for generations without unnecessary DFO involvement,” said Bateman. “These taxpayers deserve the right to farm their land—but every time a DFO bureaucrat shows up, it means more unnecessary red tape, more on-the-fly rule-making and more frustration for farmers. The Fisheries Act needs to be changed to reflect how vital irrigation and drainage are to farms.”
The CTF announced the launch of a national petition calling on the federal government to substantially reform the Fisheries Act to improve the relationship between farmers and the DFO and to recognize the hardships the Act and its overzealous interpretation has put on the farming community. The petition can be found at http://www.taxpayer.com and will be presented to the Minister of Fisheries later this year.