Odd Thoughts: The road to higher prices

The past is to blame for higher prices of vegetables in the grocery store.

Next time you’re in the grocery store and notice the price of one vegetable or another skyrocketing, don’t shake your fist at the fires, floods, or hailstorms in California or Florida or Mexico or… wherever.

It’s a futile gesture, aimed in the wrong direction.

If you must shake your fist, shake it at the past.

In 1931, when the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce was taking its baby steps and the first editions of the Langley Advance began apprising local citizens of local goings-on, most of the world was in the throes of an economic depression so severe that it remains the benchmark against which all economic downturns are still measured.

Able-bodied workers were out of work, and all levels of government in Canada organized special projects to keep them occupied – and to justify paying them relief (welfare, in today’s vernacular).

The federal government decided to connect roads and rebuild trails and tracks to create a Trans-Canada Highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The new highway crossed the Rocky Mountains from Alberta into British Columbia, wound through the interior mountains and valleys, snaked into the Fraser Canyon, and connected with Vancouver through the Fraser Valley.

“Aye,” as Shakespeare would have said if he weren’t Francis Bacon and had died centuries earlier, “and there’s the rub.”

The original plan was to take the new highway through the valley along the rockier terrain to the north of the Fraser River. The idea was to create less disturbance through the more abundant farmlands on the south side.

But the arable land to the south had attracted more residents than the north.

A contingent of South of the Fraser mayors and business leaders – who knew that “progress” was built alongside roads, and not across the river from them – went to Ottawa to point out that “more residents” are exactly the same as “more voters.”

Numbers of voters outweighed numbers of potatoes or cabbages or chickens or cows in the scales wielded by politicians. The highway and the progress it attracted paved over mile after mile of farmland.

The importance of the Agricultural Land Reserve created in the 1970s to stem the destruction of BC’s farming potential has largely been denigrated and subverted by those who can’t see past developers’ dollars.

And consequently, our veggie prices are now dictated by weather events in other parts of the world.

Just Posted

Abbotsford goes up 2-0 on Langley

Pilots win both games on home ice, series now shifts to Langley

Kodiaks begin best-of-seven series strong

The Kodiaks opened their quarter-final playoff series by defeating the Delta Ice Hawks on home ice.

Heritage proposal for Aldergrove fire hall at a ‘standstill’

The Alder Grove Heritage Society faces a delay in knowing the fate of the fire hall due to tenants slated to live in the building until 2020.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

BREAKING: Plecas won’t run in next election if legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Stabbing at Lower Mainland banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Most Read