Leaked emails reveal old plan to plow ALR, disdain for First Nations
Read this May 28 Globe and Mail story by Justine Hunter and Mark Hume on a series of emails involving former Liberal Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm and Energy Minister Bill Bennett, revealing longstanding plans to open up the Agricultural Land Reserve to the energy industry. Bill 24 was passed in the Legislature yesterday, amid fireworks over the emails, which also attacked First Nations for standing int he way of the plan – drawing fire from native leaders.
…NDP agriculture critic Nicholas Simons said leaked e-mails demonstrate the ministers behind Bill 24 – Bill Bennett and Pat Pimm – had an agenda before the last election to weaken the independent agency in charge of protected farmland.
“These e-mails make it clear they disliked the Agricultural Land Reserve and wanted to undermine the land commission. Clearly, the views that were expressed in these e-mails should probably have disqualified them from being eligible to sit in cabinet,” Mr. Simons said in the legislature on Wednesday.
“Instead, they were rewarded by the Premier with the two positions most capable of destroying our farmland. … They had the motive. She gave them the opportunity and the means.”
The release of the e-mails prompted an apology on Wednesday from Mr. Pimm, who was minister of agriculture when the proposed legislation was introduced.
Mr. Pimm, who is on medical leave, wrote in an e-mail in July, 2012, that the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) was getting in the way of changes that would help him at election time while his government was busy finding ways to “give the Indians more money which doesn’t get me one vote!”
After the contents of the e-mail were reported this week, Mr. Pimm issued a written statement: “I deeply regret and apologize for my comments in regards to First Nations that appeared in The Globe and Mail today. They were inappropriate and wrong.”