Cummins promises 1,200 licenses for farm-gate sales

B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins spoke to the public Wednesday morning, promising action on easing "onerous" meat processing regulations.

B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins says his party would immediately issue up to 1,200 class E licenses for farm-gate sales, allowing local people to buy local meat.

In an announcement Wednesday at local candidate Scott Anderson's campaign office, Cummins said the Conservatives would take action on reversing the "onerous regulations" imposed under the B.C. Liberals. After they were implemented in 2007, the new regulations caused livestock producers in the North Okanagan to dwindle from 1200 to 300. Cummins said many producers were forced to shut down or go underground.

"It's time to make life easier, not harder for businesses," Cummins said. "We can't treat livestock producers like petty criminals."

He said the Liberals' pilot project of five new licenses is not enough to remedy the issue.

He said the process of local farmers selling to local consumers was a hundred year old operation that should have been left alone.

"The system had been operating for 100 years, it was done quite well. If a local producer did not handle the meat well, he wasn't going to stay in business very long," Cummins said. "There simply weren't problems."

He's shocked the regulations ever made it through to implementation. "We can't understand how a policy like this could be implemented... with no big push from local representation. Nobody spoke up so this policy was pushed forward without any consideration for the local folks."

He anticipates the regulations could be changed quite quickly.

"It's simply a matter of change in regulation. A matter of ensuring those folks that received the licenses were given the proper training so they understood the requirements to operate in a safe manner," Cummins said.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call (250)309-5230.


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