Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Former B.C. forests minister cleared of conflict in tree farm decisions

VICTORIA — British Columbia's former forests minister has been cleared of any conflict of interest in land use decisions he made while his older brother held managerial positions in the forest industry.

"There's no question, it's a vindication. It's absolutely a vindication," Rich Coleman, who is now minister of Housing and Social Development in the B.C. Liberal government, said in his office at the legislature Tuesday.

He had referred the case to conflict of interest commissioner Paul Fraser in July, following a blistering report from the province's auditor general.

The auditor general said his investigation turned up complaints about a possible conflict due to Stan Coleman's employment as a registered forester working for two companies on Vancouver Island at the very heart of the decisions.

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