Some may say B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has painted himself into a corner with his latest publicity stunt to raise awareness about the government’s tax credit for farmers who donate to food banks and other non-profit groups.
Others may think the idea makes him out standing in his field.
Either way, his cabinet colleagues are likely to be green with envy as they see the response Letnick is getting to his body-painted bid to promote the tax credit.
The diminutive minister—who says he’s five-feet six-inches tall “on a good day”—agreed to have his body and face painted green and covered in painted on apples for the photo.
Wearing what is fast becoming his trademark black stetson, and a pair of similarly painted green shorts, and appearing taller than he is, Letnick was transformed into a virtual Jolly Green minister.
He said he came up with the idea after hearing, and growing concerned, that many in the agricultural community did not know that in addition to the regular charitable tax benefit they can get from donating food to food banks, the province will also give them an additional special 25 per cent tax credit.
So he set about trying to figure out a way to promote the new tax credit.
“I don’t have a lot of money in my budget to advertise these things so I had to get creative,” said Letnick.
After seeing a picture of a woman on the internet painted and on a bed of vegetables, he got his idea.
“I said to myself, ‘that’s it.'”.
He teamed up with local face and body painter Darci Sellers and after she was finished transforming him, posed for the picture at the Bella Rosa orchard in Glenmore two weeks ago. His daughter-law-law Joanna Wang took the picture.
Always a good sport and up for a challenge, Letnick said the only time he had second thoughts was when he was told he would have to shave his body so the paint would adhere better. But he went ahead with it and said he was pleased with the result.
“The only thing Photoshopped in the entire picture is my thumb because you could see a little skin on it,” sad Letnick. “It wasn’t green enough. Everything else is real.”
Letnick said while his boss, Premier Christy Clark, was a big supporter of his unorthodox government program advertisement, he expects he’ll get some ribbing from his political colleagues in the coming days.
But, he added, it will be worth if it helps get more food donated to food banks across the province.
“I have a big soft spot for food banks and other non-profit groups,” said Letnick. “The goal here is to raise awarneness of the tax credit available to farmers who donate food.”