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BC Agriculture Council does 'everything but' endorse Abbott

The BC Agriculture Council stopped short of officially throwing its support behind a Liberal leadership candidate, but chair Garnet Etsell said the council has "done everything but endorse George Abbott."

Last month, the council sent a list of questions related to agriculture policy and funding to all of the candidates. According to Etsell, they received responses from George Abbott and Kevin Falcon.

"We're disappointed the other candidates remained silent," said Etsell. "The only one that responded in detail was George Abbott. We made a pretty clear statement to our members. . . we strongly endorsed George Abbott's position statement."

Abbott's action plan promises, should he become premier, to enhance funding to the Agricultural Land Commission, expand farming extension services, and to fund a multi-year branding and marketing program for B.C. products -- some of the same policies the BCAC recommended to the standing committee on finance and government services.

Etsell said that agriculture has been consistently underfunded in British Columbia. Of the most recent budget, he said "at the very least, it was a status quo."

The council has been careful in not endorsing a candidate outright, said Etsell, because "we have to work with whoever gets in."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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