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

Revelstoke Acrobats bring home nine medals

Gymnastics club leaps to success on trampoline and double mini trampoline

Clovechok speaks to government remembering Field derailment victims

Doug Clovechok, Revelstoke’s MLA, spoke at the legislature today about the derailment… Continue reading

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Columbia Basin Trust offering grants for Community Outdoor Revitalization

Whether it’s a downtown core, plaza or waterfront, outdoor public spaces help… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Crash closes highway between Vernon and Lumby

Traffic being routed around the scene

Level nightclub will be closing

Three cougar sightings in Central Okanagan

Two cougars have been reported in Lake Country

Vehicle located in 2018 Shuswap abduction attempt

Chase RCMP say car used has since been sold, suspect still at large

We like it! Readers support the shift in Family Day dates

Readers support the date switch, while Ski Resorts may not

Cougar ‘living’ next door to Okanagan elementary school

Conservation Office has been alerted and monitoring large cat

Dog dies in Kamloops RV fire

According to a fundraiser posted on social media, the cause of the fire was electrical

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

Most Read