Agriculture Minister Lana Popham is questioned about a threatening letter sent to a salmon farm operator, October 2017. (Hansard TV)

B.C. animal lab cleared of conflict accusations over salmon farms

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham’s claims didn’t check out

Premier John Horgan’s deputy minister and an independent consultant have cleared B.C.’s animal disease testing lab in Abbotsford following allegations by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham about the lab’s work.

Don Wright, Horgan’s deputy minister and head of the B.C. public service, released his own report and another one completed by audit firm Deloitte, which “did not identify any evidence of financial or technical conflict of interest” regarding the agriculture ministry’s Animal Health Centre.

Popham said Thursday she considers the $100,000 cost of the audit to be “money well spent,” even though there was no evidence found.

Popham questioned the lab’s work on salmon farms last year after watching a CTV news program following protesters targeting salmon farms on the B.C. coast. She asked for the lab to be investigated after a federal scientist made a comment about scientists at the Abbotsford lab doing work for private sector clients such as salmon farms.

The Deloitte report concludes that this kind of fee-for-service work is “normal practice in almost all veterinary diagnostic laboratories across North America.”

Popham was under fire in the legislature last fall after she sent a letter to Marine Harvest, one of B.C.’s salmon aquaculture operators, warning them not to restock one of their salmon farms off northern Vancouver Island. The letter mentioned the pending renewal decision on land tenures that allow the net-pen farms to operate.

RELATED: B.C. minister warned salmon farm not to restock

RELATED: Opposition presses Popham on allegations about scientist

The Abbotsford lab handles a wide variety of animal health issues, including an avian flu outbreak in Fraser Valley poultry farms in 2014 that gained international attention and led to the euthanizing of thousands of chickens and turkeys.

Just Posted

Ministry denies request for air quality monitoring in Revelstoke

Revelstoke City Council’s request that an air quality monitoring system be re-established… Continue reading

City of Revelstoke and CSRD reach fire protection agreement

A new fire protection agreement has been negotiated between the City of… Continue reading

Cost to Revelstoke taxpayers as well as developers affected by proposed bylaw

If the tabled Development Cost Charge bylaw is passed sewer user costs will increase dramatically

Sinatra tribute band coming to Revelstoke Golf and Country Club

Toronto-based tenor Dan Lauzon has had a long and illustrious career as… Continue reading

Okanagan’s smoke filled skies toxic to pets

Pet owners should take extra precautions with pets until smoke dissipates

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke

Update Aug. 19 1:25 p.m. A majority of air support is still… Continue reading

Crews continue extinguish Snowy Mountain Wildfire

The 13,359 hectare wildfire is classified as held

Smoky skies means stay inside, according to Interior Health

The air quality in the Okanagan is considered a high risk

Flights from Kelowna International Airport affected by wildfire smoke

Passengers are being asked to check their flight’s status before arriving

Work continues on Monashee Complex wildfires

Crews will be assisted by helicopters if flying conditions improve

Most Read