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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparison of the NDP and Social Credit Agricultural Land Commission policy Cocking, Florence Irene


This thesis considers two questions. First, why in spite of its ideological opposition to the Land Commission Act did the Social Credit government formed in 1975 not abolish the Provincial Land Commission created by the NDP? Secondly, in what ways, if any, has the Social Credit appointed commission and the Social Credit cabinet differed from the NDP appointed commission and the NDP cabinet? After a description of the legislation, the Canada Land Inventory system and both the NDP and Social Credit appointed commissions, I argue that the complexity of issues at stake and the coalition of interests supporting the land commission, made it impossible for the government to abolish the land commission. These interests include those of farmers, who as individuals may wish to develop their land, but, collectively have a substantial interest in maintaining the reserves; developers who want, to realize the large capital gains from converting agricultural land to industrial, commercial or residential uses, but, who represent a numerically small group; municipalities, who are caught between the need for expanded tax revenues and the increased costs for services that accompanies development; and the regional districts who have to balance the competing interests of the member municipalities. A statistical analysis of the government to government exclusion requests made under section 11(1) of the provincial Agricultural Land Commission Act, indicates that the Social Credit appointed commission and the Social Credit cabinet, while maintaining the land reserve system, has allowed more exclusion requests in every category of land than had the NDP appointed commission and the NDP cabinet, and that the difference between the two was strongest for prime land, the most critical category. Further analysis suggests that this was not an accidental effect of either an increase in housing demands during the Social Credit period or of a maturation process by which the regional districts submitted more sophisticated exclusion requests and suggests the differences between the the NDP and the Social Credit are the product of different attitudes to development and planning.

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