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Honourable John van Dongen
Victoria, BC
V8W 9E2

Dear Mr. van Dongen,
I wanted to say congratulations on your "shell game" of protecting the obnoxious blueberry farmers for another season. They have continued to do whatever they damn well please -- protected by the NDP Farm Practices Act -- and vigorously defended by the MAFF staff . When you were elected as a MLA, and given the portfolio of "Minister of Agriculture", you inherited a bastion of bureaucrats and civil servants, who in my perception, control MAFF. I realize that you are a busy person and that you have to delegate others to carry out matters pertaining to the ministry, but my perception is that you are not paying enough attention to the facts of the blueberry cannon problem, and are far behind the knowledge curve of these facts. So, who really, is in control of "The Ministry of Agriculture"? When the new guidelines came out in spring, the "Ban the Cannons" group, in a lengthy meeting with you, voiced concerns to you about some sections of the guidelines. In spite of that, you accepted the guidelines as received from staff -- without a single modification! Wouldn't it be more prudent (politically) to make some token change(s) so that people may be led to believe that you had studied the document?

Also, thank you Mr. Minister, for the "standard form letter type" response (File: 0280-30 Ref: 62260) sent 8/21/2002. Although, I can't see many answers included, for the questions that I asked in my previous e-mails! I have talked to Surrey Bylaws several times -- but with no positive results. The B.C. Blueberry Council's Rick Dulat has probably gone back to university, so who is covering the hours from 8:00 PM to 6:30 PM? The RCMP are not accepting calls, bylaws are not available then, so do we call Abbotsford (604) 853-2152 or (604) 556-3103 for complaints during the off hours? Even though the BB season is slowly blasting to a halt (I hope) we still are awaiting your spring promises ie. phone numbers, marked and registered fields, etc.

My current count of cannons operating outside of guideline hours stands at 54 -- yes, that's 54 times cannons have started either before 6:30 AM or continued after 8:00 PM in a two month period! By now you are probably wondering how my morning started today. Well I was awakened at 3:09 AM by another of your "regulated" cannons. Then this cannon continued ALL-NIGHT! How many "all-nighters" you ask? That total is now up to SEVEN! Who was adament about "not tolerating all-nighters" and for punishing those offenders???

So again I say:

If you can't control them -- Ban them!!!

On a positive note, I can say your "shell game" is working well!

D. in Surrey

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