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HomeBusinessExclusive: Another glimpse inside North Islands mayors’ lobbyist-led salmon farming campaign

Exclusive: Another glimpse inside North Islands mayors’ lobbyist-led salmon farming campaign


Bob Mackin

Email obtained by is further evidence of how the lobbyist for B.C.’s salmon farming industry influences North Island mayors.

John Paul Fraser (BC Gov)

In April, showed examples of B.C. Salmon Farmers executive director John Paul Fraser advising mayors of Port McNeill, Gold River, Port Hardy and Campbell River to oppose the federal Liberals’ plan to phase-out aquaculture in the Broughton Archipelago. Fraser claimed Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan’s pre-Christmas announcement would threaten an industry that employs 1,500 and is worth $1.6 billion.

In a new batch of email, obtained under freedom of information, Fraser shared the mayors an advance copy of his organization’s letter to Jordan.

“One idea, for consideration of course, is for Mayors to ‘greet the letter’ with a joint call for governments of all levels to convene in January for the purpose of discussing and deliberating the fallout and ‘what now’ consequences of the federal minister’s decision,” Fraser wrote Dec. 22, 2020. “This would make the letter and its impact on our communities much more powerful – and might actually lead somewhere.”

On Dec. 28, Fraser coached the mayors on dealing with local reporters when he suggested sending a letter to MP Rachelle Blaney (NDP, North Island-Powell River) the next day.

“Then ‘tip off’ a reporter at Black Press, Zoe [Ducklow] and Binny [Paul] (not fans of ours… but we did land a good story with them on Friday and they are aware of how this is going to be a story to follow), are back at their desks tomorrow and will definitely want to write about this one, even if it just for the online edition,” Fraser wrote.

Letter from salmon farming lobbyist to mayors (Campbell River FOI)

On Jan. 12, Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams forwarded a link to a Campbell River Mirror story by Paul about Blaney’s call with Jordan.

“JP, so is this reporter attached at the hip with the NDP??? The other reporter that I had been dealing with Scott Stanfield seems a lot more unbiased.”

Fraser replied: “I’m hoping the story is updated, but Binny is a tough read.”

On Jan. 14, Fraser circulated a screenshot of a Grieg Seafoods employee in a Facebook post aimed at a prominent local wild salmon advocate.

“Your condescending tone to the North Island mayors is both insulting and unsubstantiated. They are doing what they were elected to do: represent the hard working citizens in their home towns,” wrote Tina Gonsky. “Hard working citizens by the thousands, who stand to lose their livelihoods because of bogus science and a self serving agenda. I challenge you Alexandra Morton to leave my comment for all to see.”

Further discussion about Morton, their nemesis, ensued. Adams said to the mayors and Fraser: “We have stood up, but we are taking a pounding and need those directly affected to back us up.”

Alexandra Morton

“By all means! A thought might be to remind readers that ‘this person was ‘pounded’ when she, very recently, ran for office to represent our communities,” Fraser said, referring to Morton. “Still bitter at finishing 12 out of 14 Green Party candidates on Vancouver Island? Number 13, and only barely, was the poor guy who ran against the Premier in his riding.”

The war of words continues between the farmed versus wild salmon advocates.

In early April, a Federal Court judge ruled two of the companies, Mowi and Saltstream, be allowed to restock farms in three locations, because the economic harms would outweigh any environmental harms.

Fraser was the BC Liberal government’s deputy minister of communications under ex-Premier Christy Clark. He is also the son of Paul Fraser, the late conflict of interest commissioner who never found an MLA broke the law during his more than a decade in office.

At the end of the BC Liberal dynasty in July 2017, John Paul Fraser scored a $396,000 golden parachute when the incoming NDP government replaced BC Liberal political staff.

Last September, the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists fined John Paul Fraser $500 for failing to report that he had been the assistant deputy minister of labour, citizens’ services and open government.

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