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

Ferry service increase to Nanaimo lauded by Gabriola Islanders

Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee to work with B.C. Ferries, says committee chairman

Nanaimo Astronomy Society to host Vancouver Island’s first AstroFest

AstroFest will showcase Island’s amateur and professional astronomical groups and activities

Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards announce winners

VIU women’s volleyball is Team of the Year, Presidents Cup lacrosse is Sports Story of the Year

Nanaimo community policing volunteer recognized for decades of service

Don Willett presented commanding officer’s certificate for 25 years of volunteer service

Vehicle smashes through front of furniture store in Nanaimo

No injuries reported in Friday afternoon incident on Mostar Road

Poutine, sweet treats tantalize taste buds at Maple Sugar Festival in Nanaimo

L’Association des Francophones de Nanaimo hold festival at Beban Park this weekend

Vancouver Island Brewing puts Nanaimo bar on tap

Beer based on signature Nanaimo dessert flying off liquor retailers’ shelves

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

B.C. man creates Indigenous colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

City of Nanaimo issues building permit for Gordon Street hotel

Ground-breaking for $21-million project anticipated this spring

High school students converge on Nanaimo for Skills Canada competition

Winners will head to provincial event in Abbotsford later this year

Realtors hope that their help can make miracles happen for sick kids

Re/Max of Nanaimo donates $86,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Most Read