4 Party and province

Partisan criticism of government is easy: if the party isn’t yours, there’s a bone to pick with whatever it’s doing. As one MLA on the Opposition benches recently remarked to us, it’s our job to hold government to account. But the parliamentary system implicates everyone in the business of law-

making. All members vote on legislation and can bring legislation forward for consideration. Yet each new generation of MLAs is responsible for managing the province’s laws as seems best, with direction from the voters who elected them.

Those voters are increasingly urban, as both the agriculture sector and the

agriculture minister – herself an urban voter, representing an urban constituency – well know. When the legislature resumes sitting in February, MLAs will face several issues inherited from the past. Those on the government benches will need to be familiar with life in rural BC to fully grasp the import of the decisions they’re making.

One is groundwater management. The province was supposed to have a

working system in place by the end of this month, with approximately 20,000 wells registered and a functioning licensing process that would allow collection of fees for groundwater extractions. Instead, just 2% of wells in the province are licensed. Will the government, which has championed clean drinking water in the Hullcar Valley and aims to launch a new Agricultural Waste Control Regulation this spring, also deliver a registration and licensing system that doesn’t add to the headaches farmers and ranchers experience? Protecting and providing access to farmland is another perennial issue. The

current agriculture minister has spearheaded amendments to legislation governing the Agricultural Land Reserve, to the delight of urban and rural farmland advocates, and there’s more to come. But ranchers want certainty around grazing rights and forage, not to mention

Crown tenure within the context of reconciliation with First Nations (many of which continue to lack treaties, to BC’s shame). Review of the Forest and Range Practices Act and discussions with Ottawa regarding a national park reserve


proposed for the South Okanagan are inherited issues worth government’s attention. Two summers of record wildfire activity have shown just how important the range is to the livelihood of communities across the BC Interior, both white and Indigenous. Sustaining traditional ways of life and the economic future of communities across the province hinges on how government decides the land should be managed. We hope sound decisions will be taken when the house resumes sitting on

February 12, not just for the sake of farmers and ranchers, but British Columbia as a whole.

“You can’t get apps” – and maybe that’s okay

The awful truth was delivered to me as I sat in a seminar staring at my flip phone. “You can’t get apps on that,” said the much younger woman seated beside me.

The Back Forty BOB COLLINS


“No?” I The

woman raised her eyebrows, shook her head, and turned back to her own phone which was probably overflowing with apps. The seminar speaker had explained that much of

the presentation was available on the associated app and suggested we all download and follow along. Unfortunately, neither Flippy or I were up to the challenge. I sat wondering what the woman beside me

would say if she knew that to me the Apps are a family of renowned ice hockey players, or that my lowly flip phone was still science fiction when I was her age. Her words stayed with me. “You can’t get apps on

that” became a metaphor for just how far out of touch I was with the baffling wonders of the wi-fi world. It occurred to me that fishing my flip phone out at the seminar was akin to taking a pail and stool to apply for work on a dairy farm. Though no one said it, the word dinosaur came to mind. I resolved to do better.

Back at home, I started quizzing one of our

barely-out-of-high-school, smart-phone-wizard employees if she could get apps. She laughed and assured me she could get all sorts of them, then wondered why I asked. I said I was thinking of getting something I could get apps on, too. “Tired of being a dinosaur?” she asked. “Something like that.” “Maybe this is your lucky day,” she said. “I just bought a new phone and I’m selling my old one.” “Does it work?” “Yes.” “Can I get apps on it?” “Yes.” “Sold,” I said. I am now the owner of a – supposedly – smart

phone. It is flat and rectangular with a button and a screen on one side and a picture of partially eaten tree fruit on the other. Its name is iPhone but I’m thinking of changing it to I Phone but not very often. I Phone isn’t a one trick pony. It is also iCamera,

iCompass, iLevel, iTypewriter, iClock, iFlashlight, and how much more I’d hate to speculate. According to my five-year-old granddaughter, if I work it right, I can take a selfie, which turns out to be a picture of me taking a picture of myself. Ironically, the one thing I Phone can’t do is get

any apps. According to I Phone, I am to blame for this sad state of affairs. Apparently, I have forgotten THE password. I have no recollection of ever having THE password to forget. I have tried all the usual suspects to no avail. I even got the smart-phone

Publisher Cathy Glover

The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 Vol.105 No.2 . FEBRUARY 2019

Published monthly by Country Life 2000 Ltd.

604-328-3814 . Editor Emeritus David Schmidt 604-793-9193 . Associate Editor Peter Mitham

Advertising Sales & Marketing Cathy Glover Production Designer Tina Rezansoff Production Ass’t Naomi McGeachy Happy Valentine’s, Mr Piffles!

wizard to try with her old password but that didn’t work either. “You have to get a new password,” she said. “Help me,” I plead. She coached me through the process which

resulted in a message promising a phone call several days hence, at a very precise time, whereupon I could get a new password. I waited for the call. And waited, and waited.

There was no call. I went through the whole convoluted process once more and was promised another call at a new precise time several more days hence. There was still no call. After roundly cursing i Phone and the pranksters who duped me with promised phone calls, I did a little soul searching. What was I thinking? How could I change something I never had? At my age, how much time was I willing to waste playing patsy to the iPhone password ruse? The short answer is: none! A new password is off the table. So, I have iPhone but, just like Flippy, I can’t get apps on that. The real rub is that it cost $100 a year not to get apps with flippy and it now costs $50 a month not to get apps with I Phone. On the bright side, my granddaughter has

promised to show me about selfies the next time she visits. The one thing I do get from I Phone that I never got from Flippy is a weekly calculation of my daily screen time. Last week, it was zero minutes per day. I doubt there is an any app that could improve on that.

Bob Collins raises beef cattle and grows produce on his farm in the Alberni Valley.

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