Rich Coleman

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The Honourable
Rich Coleman
Deputy Premier of British Columbia
Assumed office
September 5, 2012
Premier Christy Clark
Preceded by Kevin Falcon
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia
In office
June 5, 2001 – June 16, 2005
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Ivan Messmer
Succeeded by John Les
In office
April 27, 2009 – June 10, 2009
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by John van Dongen
Succeeded by Kash Heed
In office
October 25, 2010 – March 14, 2011
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Michael de Jong
Succeeded by Shirley Bond
Minister of Housing and Social Development of British Columbia
In office
June 23, 2008 – October 25, 2010
Premier Gordon Campbell
Succeeded by Kevin Krueger
Minister of Forests and Range of British Columbia
In office
June 16, 2005 – June 23, 2008
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Michael de Jong
Succeeded by Pat Bell
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Fort Langley-Aldergrove
Assumed office
May 28, 1996
Preceded by Gary Farrell-Collins
Personal details
Born c. 1956 (age 60–61)[1]
Political party BC Liberal

Rich Coleman (born c. 1956) is British Columbia's Deputy Premier, Minister of Natural Gas Development, Minister Responsible for Housing and MLA for the riding of Fort Langley-Aldergrove. He was first elected in 1996 and was re-elected in 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013.

Coleman currently serves as Chair of the Cabinet Working Group on Mental Health, Vice Chair of the Cabinet Priorities and Planning Committee and is a member of the Cabinet Committees on Jobs and Economic Growth and Environment and Land Use. Coleman is also Government House Leader.

He previously served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Minister of Forests and Range, Minister Responsible for Housing, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Minister of Housing and Social Development.

From 1996 to 2001, Coleman served in a variety of Official Opposition roles, including housing critic, forests deputy critic, and caucus whip. He also sat on the Official Opposition Caucus Committee on Crime.

Coleman has served as governor of the B.C. Kinsmen, president of the Aldergrove Chamber of Commerce, and as a director on several volunteer boards. He was awarded Rotary's highest honour, the Paul Harris Fellowship, and received a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003. He has also received the Canada 125 Medal for community service and was chosen Langley's Volunteer of the Year in 1988.

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Coleman ran a real estate management and consulting company. He is also a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a security specialist.

Coleman graduated from Penticton Secondary School in 1971.[2]

On December 1, 2010, Coleman announced to the media he had decided not to enter the provincial Liberal leadership race to replace retiring BC Premier Gordon Campbell. Coleman indicated he had planned to announce his run on Thursday, had MLA support and campaign funds, but decided not to pursue the post due to family reasons.[3]


Real-Estate Giveaway to Western Forest Products[4][5][edit]

In January 2007, acting as BC Forests and Range Minister, without consultation with local elected officials, communities or interest groups, Rich Coleman approved the removal of 28,283 hectares (approximately 70,000 acres) of private land from three coastal tree farm licences held by Western Forest Products.[6] This area equates roughly to a line of football fields stretching from Victoria to Nova Scotia.[7] This unprecedented, government-sanctioned land transfer on Vancouver Island (including prime lands on the west coast of Vancouver Island between Sooke and Port Renfrew, and around the West Coast Trail) granted Western Forest Products license to make "a fortune"[8] selling the land to real estate developers to build subdivisions.[8] In so doing, it also ended the longstanding “social contract” that corporate timber interests had with the public, with expectations to maintain their properties as forestlands in exchange for the benefits they derived from public forests.[9]

In making his decision, it was learned (by Freedom of Information Request) that Rich Coleman was presented with a choice of two options.[10] He relied on a briefing note prepared by senior timber forester Kelly Finck and presented by the director of the resource tenures and engineering branch, Jim Langridge. The note set out two options, one consenting to the removal of WFP's land from the TFLs, in a move that would give the government $2.5 million worth of roads on the private lands for no more than the estimated $350,000 cost to survey them. In this case, the note predicted a "Moderate likelihood of public opposition from communities, environmental and First Nations groups, especially regarding the increased potential for log exports."[10]

The second option laid out by the briefing note was to refuse to release the lands in which case, as the note claimed, "WFP would not be able to sell private land to generate revenue." Nor would the company be able to "fully implement plans for restructuring their operations on the coast."[10] With the refusal, the note said, "Communities and First Nations groups are not impacted."[10]

Rich Coleman, a former real-estate management consultant, chose to grant Western Forest Products the lands. He said he agreed to remove the lands from tree farm licences at Western Forest Products' request.[11] In so doing, he claimed that Western Forest Products needed help paying off their $200-million debt,[12] and so the government was willing to trade some of the public interests (protected by tree-farm licences) to give a break to the shareholders.[13] The deal included 734,000 cubic metres of timber that could be logged and sold before development.[14] Curiously, he asked for no compensation in return, nor for any donation of lands for parks[13] from Western Forest Products, a corporation that donated $60,470 to the B.C. Liberal party between 2005 and 2007.[15]

On April 18, 2007 Rich Coleman shared with the legislature his understanding that the giveaway lands would continue to be managed as private forest lands.[16][17]

The lands granted Western Forest Products were at the time conservatively valued at $150-million.[18] By September 2007 WFP had put 6,300 acres of prime real-estate—between Sooke and Jordan River, much of it waterfront—on the market for development. WFP's chief operating officer Duncan Kerr said that the land being sold was better suited to development than to tree farming, and that WFP was "not unaware" of various expressions of interest to develop those land parcels.[14]

In response to the many concerns and allegations regarding this land giveaway, the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre requested an official investigation by the Auditor-General's Office of British Columbia.[7][8]

Brother Stan Coleman Employed with Western Forest Products[edit]

Minister Rich Coleman announced the WFP release about eight months after his brother, Stan Coleman, joined Western Forest Products as their manager of strategic planning.[10]

In 2004 Stan Coleman worked for Weyerhaeuser when that company benefited from a release of private land from control under Tree Farm Licenses. In that scenario, it was then forest minister Mike de Jong who released the land against the recommendation of ministry staff.[10]

Asked about his involvement in the land deals, Stan Coleman claimed "No involvement. I have no involvement in either of them."[10]

In response to related allegations stemming from the BC Auditor-General's Report[19] (see below for more), Rich Coleman requested BC's conflict-of-interest commissioner, Paul Fraser, to investigate.[18]

On September 16, 2008 Paul Fraser delivered his Opinion, concluding that "There is no indication that Stan Coleman benefited in any way from the decisions made by the Minister."[20] Any potential benefit to Rich Coleman or Western Forest Products was somehow not mentioned in the 12-page investigation report.[20]

BC Auditor-General's Scathing Rebuke[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'For me, it's zero tolerance': Back in his days as a Mountie, Solicitor-General Rich Coleman saw his share of carnage on the roads -- and it makes him all the more determined to stamp out street racing and save lives. He's already come down hard on B.C.'s high- horsepower hotheads, and even tougher laws are on the way: [Final Edition] Smyth, Michael. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 02 June 2002: A14.
  2. ^ School District 67
  3. ^ Coleman had support, not "heart" for race. South Delta Retrieved Dec 1,2010
  4. ^ Appendix B: Documents Relating to the January 31, 2007 Deletions of Private Lands from TFLS 6, 19 & 25. 2007. 
  5. ^ Forest-land deal shortchanges B.C. Times-Colonist. September 29, 2007. p. 47 – via Appendix B. 
  6. ^ BC Ministry of Forests and Range (January 31, 2007). "PRIVATE LAND REMOVED FROM TREE FARM LICENCES". Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "ELC Requests Auditor General Investigation". Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria. ELC. October 24, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b c CBC News (November 20, 2007). "B.C. auditor general to review Vancouver Island land deal". Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  9. ^ Carlito, Pablo (July 23, 2008). "Logging companies look to flip forests in B.C.". Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g MacLeod, Andrew (January 14, 2008). "Forest Minister's Brother High in Firm Granted Tree Farm Deal". Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  11. ^ Appendix B: Documents Relating to the January 31, 2007 Deletions of Private Lands from TFLS 6, 19 & 25. Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria. 2008. p. 50. 
  12. ^ Monneo, Shannon (March 5, 2007). Forest Refuge or Future Suburb. The Globe and Mail. p. 53 – via Appendix B. 
  13. ^ a b Appendix B: Documents Relating to the January 31, 2007 Deletions of Private Lands from TFLS 6, 19 & 25. Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria. 2008. p. 59. 
  14. ^ a b Monneo, Shannon (September 18, 2007). "Pending sale of pristine waterfront property upsets Islanders, The Globe & Mail". Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  15. ^ Pablo, Carlito (July 23, 2008). "Logging companies look to flip forests in B.C.". Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  16. ^ "2007 Legislative Session: Third Session, 38th Parliament HANSARD". Hansard. October 18, 2007. 
  17. ^ Appendix B: Documents Relating to the January 31, 2007 Deletions of Private Lands from TFLS 6, 19 & 25. p. 51. 
  18. ^ a b Lavoie, Judith (July 17, 2008). "Coleman Blasted for Trees Decision; Auditor-General: Little Attention to Public Interest,". Canwest News Service. Retrieved September 17, 2016 – via PressReader. 
  19. ^ "A REVIEW OF THE REMOVAL OF PRIVATE LAND FROM TREE FARM LICENCES 6, 19 & 25: PROTECTING THE PUBLIC INTEREST?" (PDF). The Office of the Auditor-General of British Columbia. July 16, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Provincial Government of Christy Clark
Cabinet Posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Kevin Falcon Deputy Premier of British Columbia
September 5, 2012–Present
Ministry Created Minister of Natural Gas Development
June 7, 2013–Present
Steve Thomson Minister of Energy and Mines
March 14, 2011–June 7, 2013
Bill Bennett