BCFGA president faces pressure

A long-time orchardist has called for the removal of B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president Kirpal Boparai.

  • Oct. 28, 2012 2:00 p.m.

Judie Steeves

Black Press

A long-time orchardist has called for the removal of B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president Kirpal Boparai.

Glenn Cross put a resolution to members of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative at its annual general meeting Tuesday 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.

But co-op president Rob Dawson says it’s not up to the co-op to interfere in BCFGA business.

The co-op receives membership fees to the grower lobby association, as part of grower contracts it has with its member growers, but the two organizations are separately run.

“As far as I’m concerned it won’t be discussed by the board,” said Dawson.

Cross says he doesn’t feel Boparai has respect for the co-op or the political people he is supposed to be working with on behalf of 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.

Boparai 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.”

Boparai will be up for re-election at the BCFGA annual general meeting to be held Jan. 26, 2013 in Penticton.