Langley East MLA Rich Coleman has apologized for comments he made in the B.C. Legislature Thursday.

Langley East MLA Rich Coleman has apologized for comments he made in the B.C. Legislature Thursday.

Rich Coleman apologizes for comparing ALR rule changes to Nazi oppression

Rich Coleman was speaking on a bill that changes farmland regulations

Langley East Liberal MLA Rich Coleman apologized Thursday after he compared a bill modifying rules in the ALR to the Nazi restrictions on the rights of Jews in the 1940s.

“I’ve been here for 23 years, and I’ve never seen a more bigoted piece of legislation come before this House,” Coleman said during debate on Bill 15, a piece of legislation that will make some major amendments to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and rules on removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

“Particularly on a day like today,” Coleman said of Bill 15. “On a day like today when we witness people whose rights were taken apart and taken away from them in the 1940s.”

Coleman’s speech resulted in a great deal of heckling, including one unidentified member who shouted “This is embarrassing.”

Deputy Speaker Raj Chouhan had to repeatedly call for quiet.

“Maybe these guys will get some compassion for humanity, I doubt they will,” Coleman said of the NDP.

The legislation will change the way petitions to remove land from the ALR work. If Bill 15 passes, individual property owners will no longer be able to apply for exclusions from the ALR on their own behalf.

Instead, local municipal governments, First Nations, or the province itself will have to put the applications before the ALC.

Coleman was one of several Liberals to oppose the bill during Thursday’s debate, with accusations flying from the Liberals that farmers are no longer considered people under the legislation.

The Legislature had discussed the Holocaust earlier in the day, as Holocaust Memorial Day was recognized in the chamber.

Reaction was swift, not only from immediate heckling but from NDP MLAs taking to Twitter, including Selina Robinson, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville.

“The opposition expressed through the member for Langley East is hyperbolic, not based on fact, emotionally driven, perhaps purposefully inflaming,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast.

Simons noted Coleman’s references to Holocaust Memorial Day.

“I find that insulting,” Simons said. “I have stronger words that I perhaps need to speak to the member. I certainly hope, I certainly hope he wasn’t drawing a comparison between the language that we’ve included in the bill to protect agriculture land, with horrors of previous governments that erode entire communities’ rights.”

Simons said the opposition to what he called essentially a matter of zoning has been over the top.

Coleman apologized on Twitter Thursday evening.

Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson also noted it was inappropriate, without naming Coleman.

Agricultural Land ReserveBC politicsFarmingLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

The City of Williams Lake is awaiting the arrival of seven terrain park features typically found at ski hills to create more winter recreational opportunities in Boitanio Park. (Arena Snowparks Instagram)
City shows cool side with winter, Boitanio rail park

“We’re just waiting for their arrival and a little more snow,” Atkinson said.

Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars provides a community COVID-19 update from his home Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Williams Lake First Nation Facebook image)
WLFN chief reports 11 members fully recovered from COVID-19

23 active cases remains, says Chief Willie Sellars

A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed on Jan. 5, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
Power outage spoils COVID-19 vaccine at Tl’etinqox

Temperature-sensitive vaccine no longer viable after Jan. 18 event

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read