Tuesday, March 21,

2017 

  Monday, March 27, 2017 

 

Opinion

O'Hara, Meet Myrtle

Macdonald gives All-Candidates meeting high marks

Myrtle Macdonald, M. Sc., Author

 

Dear Tracey (O'Hara - NDP)

 

 am glad I met you at the All Candidates Meeting at Sto’lo #10. Having just been elected the Chilliwack Candidate, you did well to admit you had not yet learned the party position. As the evening progressed you gained ability to ad lib well.

With what I am writing below and with what I sent you a couple of days ago about Pharmacare, I want you to influence the NDP party platform.

Connect with the Farming Community

I also want you to work among the farmers to get their trust and hope (by visiting them and their youth at home). The candidate in the last election lost because she did not gain votes from farmers. She said nothing of interest to small family farmers until a week before the election.

The Dutch and Mennonite rural voters are very conservative and vote for the BC brand of Conservative-Liberals. They also belong to Reformed, Alliance and other conservative churches. They like Larry Throness because they loved his father, an Alliance minister and hospital chaplain.

As stewards of the earth we can do amazing things as in Dubai. See below.

Our politicians and our philanthropists need inspiration. There are places in other parts of the world where great progress has been made. We Canadians are lagging behind.

Year-Round Farmer's Markets

Let us start locally by encouraging nearby farmers markets all year round.

Intra-Urban Rail

My dream is to have the Interurban railway running again at least four round trips a day for passengers, to lighten commuter traffic on the highway. It could drop off a refrigerated car/farmers market for a day in six places once a week. The next day it could sell leftovers in another location, and buy new produce. They could refrigerate and freeze produce and have it for sale all year round. Snow is removed from the track easily.

The route of the old Interurban does not meander, as was remarked at an All Candidates meeting. It is located 4 miles south of Hyw #1 right in the midst of farms. The highway route runs at the north edge of farms and cannot be accessed by them.

Rapid transit is not needed, for at normal speed, trains would reach Vancouver more quickly than cars on the overcrowded highway.

There could be a few express trains. The right of way is owned by BC Hydro.

Farming
Small family farmers do not have time or skill to market their fruits and vegetables, so they give up and instead grow trees, shrubs and corn to make a living, and they have to get second jobs. They have extra costs owning 3 cars/vehicles for their farm work, travel to work in town, and to get teens to college. Teens love farming but all local sports, social events and 4H have died and they have to get another career to make a living.

Food
Imported fruit and vegetables cost less than locally grown. Therefore tax the importers and truckers and somehow convince/force the grocery stores to buy only local.

Infrastructure
Highway widening capital costs and maintenance ought to be looked at honestly. They also increase the cost of living and the pollution of air, water and land. That in turn increases the cost of health care for chronic illnesses.

Local Business
Separate Agribusiness from Agriculture. Have separate committees and ministries because their concerns and goals are very different. A lot of fertile land is misused by agribusiness. Small family farmers are silenced by Agribusiness.

Transportation and Missing Women
An increase of funding for transit is in the Federal budget. When improvements in transit are planned please give much more attention to the rural areas, both for small farmers and for indigenous people. If there were regular light railway trips four times a day in the Prince George area, for example, there would be fewer missing women.
 

Trams

The cost of light railways and surface tram lines is very much less than of sky trains and subways. (4 km of sky train costs more then 99 km Chilliwack to Scott Road-Pattullo Bridge Station). The passenger service north of the Fraser is paid for by ticket sales, even though CNCP charge high rent. South of the Fraser passenger service will cost much less. Few level crossing lights are needed. Drive on Vie Road and see for yourself. See the attached Leewood Proposal. A million people live south of the Fraser and not a quarter of that near the CP rail north of the Fraser River.

Travel by train is relaxing and enjoyable for commuters and tourists. Shuttle buses can take them to Cultus Lake, Harrison Hot Springs and Shakespeare Tunnels near Hope.

The old Interurban line runs near six university campuses, convenient for students living south of the Fraser to get to classes, and not to have to buy a car.

Export of fruit and vegetables across Canada should be enabled.

 


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