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e-4128 (Agriculture)

Initiated by Tristin Bouwman from Surrey BC, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Canada’s food security demands resilient supplies of affordable, sustainably produced fresh vegetables;
  • Western Canada relies heavily on imported vegetables trucked from California where droughts are becoming increasingly problematic;
  • Domestic production remains critical to limiting the impacts of extreme climate events, highway closures and supply chain problems;
  • Each year, Western Canada’s domestic fresh field vegetable supply is jumpstarted by a unique 120 hectare parcel of farmland and forest habitat in Surrey, British Columbia;
  • The parcel, owned by the federal government, produces Canada's first potatoes, carrots and cabbage each year, owing to its distinctive drainage capacity, immunity to flooding and special microclimate;
  • In 2022 alone, the parcel produced approximately 70% of British Columbia’s potatoe production from May through August 1;
  • Annually, the parcel produces approximately 50 million vegetable servings delivered across Western Canada through retailers, restaurants and food banks;
  • Without this early production, large domestic vegetable supplies could be delayed by weeks, potentially months;
  • Recently, the Surrey’s City Council recognized the food security value of the parcel, passing a unanimous motion to protect it; and
  • Nevertheless, this parcel is currently in the process of being sold by the federal government, risking its conversion to industrial use.
We, the undersigned, citizens or residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Reverse the Government of Canada’s decision to dispose of the parcel;
2. Include the farmland into British Columbia’s Agriculture Land Reserve;
3. Lease the farmland to a local farmer on a long-term basis; and
4. Place a covenant on the parcel preserving it for forest habitat and domestic vegetable production in perpetuity.

Response by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of robust food systems for Canadians. The Government of Canada’s management of real property is guided by the Treasury Board Directive on the Management of Real Property. The objective of the directive is that real property is planned, acquired, used, and disposed of in a manner that supports the delivery of programs and services to Canadians while ensuring best value to the Crown. Accordingly, when federal departments no longer have a program requirement for real property, they are encouraged to declare the land surplus and return it to productive use within the community. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has been in the process of disposal of this property, in accordance with the terms of the directive, but has delayed the next step  – the solicitation of public purpose interest with relevant parties – while the Department addresses recent developments on this file.

Open for signature
September 16, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
November 15, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
John Aldag (Cloverdale—Langley City)
November 16, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00847)
Government response tabled
January 18, 2023
Photo - John Aldag
Cloverdale—Langley City
Liberal Caucus
British Columbia