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.

Just Posted

LETTER: Recreational angling has low-impact on Fraser salmon

Jason Tonelli writes about his displeasure at the call to close recreational fishing on the Fraser

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

VIDEO: Masterpieces begin to take shape at Hope’s chainsaw competition

More than a dozen chainsaw carvers, including one 14-year-old carver, taking part in four-day event

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read