On Friday, I leafleted on the causeway at the entrance to Granville Island. I saw many people carrying bags of produce, meats, and seafood from the market, or purchases of arts and crafts items. Some of the food items and most of the arts and crafts items are from BC. Later, I went to a wine tasting fundraiser for Vancouver-Fairview NDP candidate Jenn McGinn, and all of the wines were from BC. At both the Vision Fundraising dinner on Thursday evening and the wine-tasting, I met a Cambie Village retailer who has been struggling to keep her shop going in spite of the Canada Line construction which is now in its third year.
When we support local businesses and buy local products, we are helping the economy of our city, our province, and our country. Buying locally – or at least “closer to home” – is also more sustainable because it requires less motorized transportation. We also have more control of our own national and provincial regulations on food safety and work safety, and on air and water pollution.
When I was on Park Board from Dec 2002 to Dec 2005, we brought in an Ethical Purchasing policy and started implementing it. The NPA Board chose not to pursue Ethical Purchasing. By buying Fair Trade products, we can ensure that equipment used by the Park Board and food sold by the Park Board is made or grown by workers who receive a fair wage and work in a safe environment.
COPE Parks Commissioner Spencer Herbert was instrumental in having the Park Board adopt the “Ocean Wise” program for seafood sold at its venues, which means that the “catch” must be harvested sustainably.
COPE Parks Commissioner Loretta Woodcock is putting forward a motion on Monday, October 27, to have the Park Board adopt a “Buy Canadian” program, which would have the Park Board move toward a goal of purchasing 50% of its equipment and food in Canada.
All of these are progressive measures which can help our local and national economy, foster the well-being of workers everywhere, and contribute to the environmental sustainability of our planet.