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Harold Steves to be roasted this Sunday

The Farmland Defence League is honouring Harold Steves this Sunday. - Mark Patrick file photo
The Farmland Defence League is honouring Harold Steves this Sunday.
— image credit: Mark Patrick file photo

They tried two years ago, but Coun. Harold Steves wouldn’t budge. This time, they forced him.

Organizers of An Evening With Harold Steves have invited a host of current and former politicians, bureaucrats, friends, farmland advocates and others to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Sunday to toast and roast the longtime politician.

“We’re in a crisis. We needed to remind people of what we have and what’s at stake,” said Donna Passmore of the Farmland Defence League, which is organizing the event. “You can do that by guilt and shame, or you can do it by celebrating the glorious moments of your past. There is no better person to remind us of our glory days and what we can have and still have in celebrating Harold.”

Joan Sawicki, a former environment minister in B.C., will emcee the evening. Others slated to speak include B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair, former health minister Penny Priddy, former agriculture minister Corky Evans, Langley Mayor Rick Green and environmentalist Betty Krawczyk.

Passmore called Steves “hands down, the most amazing person I’ve ever met.”

“Harold is a very humble man. He doesn’t want to do this. In fact two weeks ago, he was trying to talk me out of it,” she said.

Steves, who turns 74 next month, will be celebrated for his advocacy around farmland, food security, fisheries and heritage, along with his commitment to the Agricultural Land Reserve, which he was instrumental in founding nearly 40 years ago.

When asked what drives his passion for such causes, Steves said: “I got upset 50 years ago, and never stopped.”

Steves was a university student when his family’s Steveston farm was rezoned against the wishes of his family. His dad applied for a building permit for a new barn to support his dairy operation, but it was denied because his property had been rezoned residential.

“That’s how he found out,” said Steves. “It put my dad out of the dairy business.”

The younger Steves went to a protest at the old Brighouse racetrack clubhouse with hundreds of farmers who were facing higher taxes.

“Farmers at that time, nobody knew how to fight city hall. They eventually just sold their farms and moved away.”

But Steves stayed to fight, and he still calls Steveston home.

Steves is now serving his 39th year on city council—he also served one term with the NDP in provincial government—and said he’ll run for one more council term this November.

Sunday’s event runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the cannery, 12138 Fourth Ave. Local food and drink will be served. Tickets are $50, e-mail donnapassmore7@gmail.com.

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