Passenger rail, a Food Sovereignty Tour and our new Leader


by Alex Atamanenko, MP on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 5:00pm ·

Last week was a very full and interesting week. On Saturday, March 17th, I had the pleasure of attending the Kootenay Rail Services potluck and meeting in Procter. I would like to thank Kevin Sheppard and others for inviting me to this great event and for also allowing me to sign my Kettle Valley and tugboat songs. Needless to say, I was very impressed with the very thorough presentation. Hopefully, we can re-activate passenger rail service from Procter to Nelson in the not too distant future.

On Sunday, Colleen Ross of the National Farmers Union (NFU), my assistant Gina Petrakos and I started our Food Sovereignty Tour in Nelson, followed by Grand Forks, Oliver, Cawston and Princeton.

The evenings were well attended. Colleen had a chance to talk about how the NFU represents farms and is also part of the world-wide Via Campesina Food Sovereignty movement. It is important for us to take back control of our food supply and to ensure that Canadians have access to good quality food produced in Canada. There is no reason whatsoever that we cannot do this and still maintain trade relations with other countries. To do this, we need to provide farmers with a decent living and not allow the so-called “free trade” agreements to interfere with this process.

During my presentation, I emphasized that Food Sovereignty is not “owned” by any political party. It is up to those of us who believe in this concept to push our respective parties in this direction. The other thing that we can do is to make this a major issue int he 2013 BC Provincial General Election. Let’s pinpoint each political party to get their position on provincial government local procurement as well as reinstating our “Buy BC” program. Now is the time for those of us who believe in Food Sovereignty to influence government policy.

The week ended well with our NDP leadership convention. I feel very optimistic about our future as a party and would like to congratulate Thomas Mulcair on his victory. In our post-convention meeting, he was very magnanimous and reached out to all candidates and members of our caucus. We are united to take on the Harper “wrecking crew” and will continue to fulfill the job expected of us as the Official Opposition.


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