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Agriculture Minister fights cancer

Pat Pimm has never backed down from a fight and British Columbia's agriculture minister says he doesn't intend to shy away from what could be the biggest battle of his life after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

Pimm, 56, said Wednesday he is scheduled to undergo surgery Jan. 21 at the hospital in Grande Prairie, Alta., which is close to his home and family in northeast B.C.

The Peace River North MLA said he plans to continue with his regular duties as the minister and representative for the Fort St. John area until the end of this week, and hopes to get back to work as soon as possible after his surgery.

"I'm continuing on," said Pimm.

"I've got appointments through the end of the day on Friday. I'm feeling great, so as far as the workload goes, I'll be down for a few days and once I get everything up and get through the period and get out of the hospital then we'll just work day-by-day from that point on."

Pimm said he told Premier Christy Clark and his cabinet colleagues about his diagnosis when cabinet met in Vancouver on Wednesday.

He said he plans to battle the cancer diagnosis and expects to make a full and speedy recovery.

"Sometimes I've been called a little bull-headed or stubborn, whatever word you want to use, but I'm taking this on as another one of those fights," he said.

"I've never shied away from a fight and this is just another one that I'm going to take on and we're going to deal with it head on. We're going to beat this thing."

Pimm said he was feeling uncomfortable late last year and a series of medical tests recently discovered the cancer.

Last November, Pimm's political decision-making was under the glare of the Opposition New Democrats and the media for his involvement in a decision to target the removal of 70-hectares of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve in his riding. The land removal resulted in a constituent developing a rodeo grounds.

Documents were also leaked that indicated some of the powers of the Crown's agricultural land commission could be handed to the Oil and Gas Commission.

The government said afterwards that the proposal was old and the idea to move the land commission was rejected.

The NDP said Pimm was attempting to interfere in a land commission decision, and then came up with a "secret plan" to dismantle the land reserve.

Last December, Pimm wrote to B.C.'s Conflict Commissioner Paul Fraser and asked him to provide advice to all B.C. MLAs about situations where their duties collide with the independent commission that protects farmland.

Premier Christy Clark did not respond earlier to questions about whether Pimm should step down from cabinet while the conflict issue is reviewed.

Pimm, a long-term Fort St. John city councillor, was first elected to the legislature in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.

Last August, Vancouver Hastings New Democrat Shane Simpson underwent surgery to remove a colon tumour. He made a full recovery.

The Canadian Press

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