Fraser Valley/Victoria/Vancouver – In a story that Global first broadcast on Saturday evening, the Agriculture Ministry said they were looking into hiring an American surveillance company, MDA Systems Ltd to provide military grade radar satellite-based change detection services on Agricultural Land starting November 2019 until February 2020 for 3 overlapping areas in Southern BC.
This would be to ensure that ALR rules were being followed on ALC controlled farm land.
The instant howls of protest hit social media , hard and fast.
From the Facebook page Changes to Bill 52:
“The specific areas of interest cannot be identified without potentially compromising the value of the pilot in assessing the effectiveness of satellite image capture and change detection for compliance related purposes. Due to the limited nature of the area being imaged, it is possible that the land owners may behave differently if they are aware they are being monitored and this may invalidate the intent of this pilot project in evaluating change-detection technologies and protocols.”
They go on to say:
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association states,“Mass surveillance violates international privacy rights and is fundamentally incompatible with the rights to free speech and free association that lie at the heart of strong democracies”. ALR land owners are being spied on and lied to. Nov 14, 2019 quote from ALC Chair Jennifer Dyson “We’re not looking for that. We’re not knocking on doors. There is no drone or helicopters looking for these kinds of things.” What can you do? Write letters of FORMAL OBJECTION. Please write your own MLA https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members
FVN has reached out to the Ag Minister Lana Popham as well as Chilliwack MLA’s John Martin and Laurie Throness for comment.