Canada: Removal of BCFGA president called for

A long-time Kelowna tree fruit grower has called for the removal of B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president Kirpal Boparai of Kelowna. Glenn Cross put a resolution to members of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative at its annual general meeting Tuesday afternoon in Peachland that the co-op packinghouse immediately stop funding the BCFGA until the executive removes Boparai from the board. It was approved and the resolution will go to the co-op board for its consideration. However, it’s not clear whether the BCFGA executive can remove a director. Fees to cover membership in the BCFGA are levied at the co-op although there is no governance relationship between the two organizations. All co-op members are also members of the grower lobby group.

Cross said he put the resolution because he doesn’t feel Boparai represents his best interest, and a majority of the 200 to 300 growers in attendance approved the resolution. Cross went on to say he didn’t feel Boparai has respect for the co-op or the political people he is supposed to be working with on behalf of growers, and that hinders his ability to represent growers. Boparai said he has talked to a couple of members of the co-op board and he didn’t feel the motion would go forward, but he said he would be more than happy to step aside if that’s what growers want. “It’s not about Kirpal. It’s all about the growers,” he said.

New people and new ideas are needed in the co-operative to get more returns to growers, he said. He was dismissed from the co-op recently because he did not honour his contractual agreement to ship all his apples through the co-op, but instead sold them elsewhere. “The bottom line is I’m always interested in growers. I’m the first president (of the BCFGA) who stood up to the co-op,” he said. “The old ways don’t work anymore,” he added. Boparai will be up for re-election at the BCFGA annual general meeting to be held Jan. 26, 2013 in Penticton.


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