4 Telling the story One of the privileges the media enjoys, and one at the heart what Country

Life in BC does, is sitting in on industry discussions and sharing the story of specific sectors of BC agriculture with the industry as a whole. With local farms growing more than 200 types of crops and livestock using a variety of protocols, there’s no place where the old saying is more true: “Get two farmers in a room, and you’ll have three opinions.” So it was that this winter’s producer meetings saw organic growers and

farmers’ markets taking pride in having the trust of consumers, relationships often built through direct sales. This was frequently contrasted with large farms that – so the story goes – put efficiency ahead of care for workers and animals.

But if small-scale producers selling directly to consumers put a face to BC

agriculture, big farms have a face, too. It’s not always the one seen in undercover videos, either. BC’s biggest growers are more often found driving skid-steers or checking barns and vineyard conditions using handheld devices. The folks doing the grunt work are seldom the ones representing the farm, unlike in smaller operations. Perhaps that should change. While it’s easy to criticize the use of foreign workers, they’ve got a story

that’s important to tell. Many come to Canada to provide for their families and see it as an opportunity to better themselves. Buying produce at the local farmers’ market may support the small local farmer; buying vegetables grown at BC’s large greenhouse growers has both local and international impact. How often do we hear the story Gurpreet, Angel or Jorge have to tell? This is where challenges the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) this winter stand to have far-reaching effects both here and in Mexico. BC growers are frustrated with the delays, but so are the workers they want to hire, many of whom want to return to work they’ve done in previous years. Many can’t just shift to another country; the US isn’t an option given deportations that have created a hostile climate for legitimate as well as undocumented foreign workers.


People want to know who’s growing their food, regardless of whether it’s John

from Oyama or Juan from Oaxaca. Putting a face to the worker, as small farms know, builds public trust. It can also help build understanding and support for the importance of programs such as SAWP – local initiatives with global impact.

Political succession has its perks and pitfalls Early in April 1968, Pierre Elliot Trudeau was

elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Two weeks later, he was installed as Canada’s 15th prime minister. He moved immediately to legitimize his position by calling a federal election. Trudeau was a vigorous,

The Back Forty BOB COLLINS

charismatic intellectual who inspired a groundswell of personal support (dubbed Trudeaumania) that delivered the Liberals a 21-seat majority on June 25, 1968. Trudeau proved a flamboyant, hard-nosed and controversial leader who was often reviled and respected at the same time. He remains the third- longest serving prime minister in Canadian history. On Christmas Day 1971, a son was born to

Trudeau and his wife, Margaret Sinclair. On October 19, 2015, that son – Justin Pierre James Trudeau – became the 23rd prime minister of Canada: the first ever preceded in the same office by a parent. Perhaps not such a big deal considering our current head of state, who is the 32nd great-granddaughter of Alfred the Great. Family ties, long the cornerstone of monarchies

worldwide, often figure prominently when dictatorships change hands, and are increasingly evident in the pursuit of democratic office. We have been there before in BC with father and son, the premier’s Bennett. More recently, we’ve seen

George W. Bush follow the footsteps of his father, just plain George, to the US presidency, and Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill, almost become the first man and woman to simultaneously reside in the White House as president and first spouse. It is a trend that seems to be gaining some

traction. There is already some buzz around the proposal that Michelle Obama should consider taking a run at her old digs on Pennsylvania Avenue. There is even some speculation about the current president’s daughter taking a shot at the Oval Office once her Pa moves on. Celebrities increasingly figure into the mix as

well. There is a reality TV star currently running the show south of the border and the notion of drafting Oprah Winfrey to run in the next US election kept the Twitter world hopping for weeks. Here in Canada, a mean-mouthed Dragon’s Den

regular made a failed run at the federal Conservative Party leadership last year and the daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney contested the leadership of the Ontario Conservative Party last month. While celebrity or family ties, dubious or

otherwise, needn’t preclude anyone from seeking public office, you have to wonder if the growing number of such candidates says more about the electoral process than it does about their political qualification. Justin Trudeau didn’t become prime minister just because he is Pierre Trudeau’s son. Justin Trudeau is the first Generation X (post Baby-Boom) prime

Publisher Cathy Glover

The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 Vol. 104 No. 4 . APRIL 2018

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minister. First elected to Parliament in 2008, he became leader of the Liberal Party in 2013 and led the party from 36 seats to a majority 184 seats in 2015. The family name almost certainly aided his success. The younger Trudeau, like his father before him, resonated with an entire generation of younger voters. Pierre Trudeau spoke thoughtfully with eloquence and passion: Justin does too, though noticeably less so in unscripted situations. Pierre’s personality could be flamboyant; Justin’s as well, perhaps more so. Judging by his recent state visit to India, perhaps too much more. The politics of the trip seem badly mishandled

and Trudeau’s personal performance caused both bemusement and chagrin at home and abroad. With his family in tow, the PM spent much of the trip moving from photo op to photo op dressed in traditional Indian clothing – like an episode of Mr. Dressup on tour. It was obviously over the top and Trudeau seemed completely tone-deaf to how it would be perceived. In some photos, even the kids look like they’ve had enough. Throw in a snub from the Indian prime minister and an ill-considered dinner invitation to a man convicted of trying to kill a former cabinet minister of the host country and you have all the makings of a disaster. Trudeau will have to wear this mess and you have to think it will take some time to scrub the stains off. Let’s hope it was a one-off and not the beginning of a new era of Tickle Trunk diplomacy. If you want to see all the colourful costumes, Google ‘Justin Trudeau in India’ and click ‘images.’

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