Jorg Engel of Maple Leaf Spirits pours a sample of one of he and wife Anette’s products for BC NDP leader John Horgan who was visiting the Naramata Road distillery Tuesday along with local NDP candidate Tarik Sayeed. Mark Brett/Western News

NDP leader pays attention to local businesses

BCNDP leader John Horgan was in good spirits while visiting the Okanagan

BCNDP leader John Horgan was in good spirits during his visit to the South Okanagan Tuesday.

Among his stops was an afternoon visit to Maple Leaf Spirits distillery on Naramata Road where he had an opportunity to sample some of the products produced by Jorg and Anette Engel.

Their award-winning, artisan spirits are made from 100 per cent, fresh B.C. fruits and grapes.

While he was there, Horgan also took the opportunity to bash the Liberals for what he says is 16 years of ignoring of the food and agriculture industry.

“The food we eat from B.C. farmers has been falling. Employment has also been falling and our agricultural land is at risk,” said Horgan. “That’s wrong. It’s my view the land base so critically important to British Columbia and critically important to rural B.C. has been neglected by the B.C. Liberals while they chased the LNG dream and that dream has turned into a nightmare.

“The hard working people in agriculture, food processing and the growing beer, wine, cider and spirits sector want to create jobs by expanding markets for B.C. vintners, brewers sector want to create thousands of good jobs, if we create more opportunities for them to succeed.”

During his trip to Penticton the NDP leader spoke with Structurlam officials and was scheduled to meet with local Rotary Club members and some high school students later in the day Tuesday.

With him was Tarik Sayeed, the NDP candidate for the Penticton riding.

“We’re excited about our prospects in the South Okanagan and not just here, but also in Boundary Similkameen and up through Vernon as well,” said Horgan. “I believe the time for a change is upon us. Sixteen years of neglect of government services, 16 years of making life more unaffordable. We’ve had a whole generation of kids starved of opportunity.”

Jorg Engel believes it is time for the government to place greater emphasis on locally produced products and to listen.

I think it’s (formation of an advisory board) for the government not only to dictate from the top down but also talk to the people from the chain up,” he said. “I think it’s a huge step in the right direction.”

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