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

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is on track, despite COVID-19 and the recent provincial election. (Government of BC photo)
Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 closures announced

The first major closures are expected to occur starting on April 12 until May 14

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

One of the renovated VWs that has served as the inspiration for Wood's idea for a VW village to redefine camping. (Jeremiah Woods photo)
Golden entrpreneau walks away with a deal from Dragon’s Den

Camping in the Woods combines a love of the outdoors and for classic VW vehicles

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read