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Farm scientist off hook in ethics complaint, issues remain

The British Columbia Institute of Agrologists has stayed an ethics complaint against Wendy Holm, a member of the institute and farm scientist who spoke out about the “muzzling” of a colleague.

“I'm relieved it's over,” said Holm. “It's always difficult for a professional to have these things hanging over their head.”

In October the Tyee reported Holm and eight colleagues were protesting the BCIA's disciplining of Susan Ames, an agrologist who offered a second opinion on land in Delta that was being considered for removal from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Holm was quoted saying the BCIA was constraining its members from making public comments about issues. The muzzling benefits the agrologists whose reports help developers get land out of the ALR, she said, but is against the public interest.

Holm said she was relieved the complaint against her was not proceeded with, but the BCIA still needs to resolve the issues stemming from the Ames case.

Two motions on the agenda for the BCIA's annual general meeting in May in Whistler seek to do that. The first would launch a full independent review of the process that found Ames guilty of a breach of the code of ethics and allows for recommendations to mitigate the damage done to Ames' reputation.

The second motion would strike a committee to look at how the BCIA and its members can better protect the public interest by upholding the principles of stewardship.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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