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

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

Colwood tops Grumpy Taxpayer$ 2019 Candy Cane Awards

Yearly awards for improved governance go to Colwood, Oak Bay, Victoria

Byelection to replace Victoria councillor set to cost more than $140,000

Staff recommend a smaller election process for March 14

North Saanich Fire Department wins national Movember challenge

Team raises more than urban Edmonton, Toronto firefighters

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read