this post was submitted on 25 May 2024
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A BC Conservative Party government would walk away from the province’s commitment to protect 30 per cent of its land base by 2030, party leader John Rustad told The Narwhal in an interview.

“The Conservatives would absolutely axe doing that,” Rustad said. “That’s nonsense.”

“It’s 30 per cent of all of our ecosystems,” he said. “What are we going to do if we have 30 per cent less food production? What are we going to do if we’re going to have 30 per cent less forestry production? What are we trying to achieve here as a province?”

Rustad’s comments come as the BC Conservatives surge in the polls five months before the provincial election, with Premier David Eby calling the Conservatives “a real threat” to the NDP’s chances of regaining power. An Abacus Data poll released May 14 showed the Conservatives only eight points behind the BC NDP, which has been in government since 2017. A Pallas Data poll released May 16 put the two parties in a dead heat, with the BC Conservatives leading the NDP by one point at 38 per cent of the vote.

Rustad has led the upstart BC Conservatives for just over a year, after being kicked out of the opposition BC Liberal caucus in 2022 for promoting a social media post that expressed doubt about climate change science. Since Rustad’s acclamation as party leader, and as the popularity of federal Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre grows, support for the BC Conservatives has steadily climbed.

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[–] [email protected] 13 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I'll preface this by saying that, imo, these sorts of views are the complete wrong type of mindset to have for governing a region that is known for it's diverse and beautiful natural features and ecosystems.

“What are we going to do if we have 30 per cent less food production?

This is a pretty weak argument considering that food production accounts for a very small portion of B.C.'s total land ­— specifically 4.9% of B.C. is within the ALR [source], so to say that 30% of that is going to be taken away seems like quite a stretch. On top of that, most food production in B.C. is in a relatively compact portion of B.C.'s southern regions [source].

What are we going to do if we’re going to have 30 per cent less forestry production?

Less than 0.3% of B.C.'s land is actively logged at any given time [source], on top of that, only 26% of B.C. land (42% of forests) is available for logging [source], so, again, to assume that it would cause B.C. to loose 30% of it's logging production is a stretch.