Fed­er­a­tion claims dis­crim­i­na­tion

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

The 25 days al­lot­ted to the pub­lic food fish­ery in this prov­ince in July, Au­gust and Septem­ber were in large part lost due to high winds. An­other three days were added by the fed­eral fish­eries min­is­ter af­ter Hur­ri­cane Igor dev­as­tated parts of the prov­ince on Sept. 21. The ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple will not be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the three-day fish­ery as it is the Thanks­giv­ing week­end, a time for fam­i­lies to be home and not on the wa­ter.

Mean­while, in east­ern Nova Sco­tia and Prince Ed­ward Is­land, the so-called recre­ational food fish­ery runs for 75 days, and in western Nova Sco­tia and New Brunswick wa­ters, for 11 months of the year.

This is ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able treat­ment of the peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador. This is the same min­is­ter (Gail Shea) who, in her let­ter ad­dressed to the Ru­ral Rights and Boat Own­ers and the New­found­land and Labrador Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion, told us that she un­der­stood what the food fish­ery meant to the peo­ple of this prov­ince.

She went on to say that she rec­og­nized the his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural im­por­tance of this food fish­ery to the peo­ple of this prov­ince.

This is also the same min­is­ter who said she would bring in an At­lantic-wide ma­rine recre­ational fish­ing li­cence. She promised that we would all be treated equally. Yet, this same min­is­ter has dropped this idea like a hot potato. Why?

Why are the cit­i­zens of this prov­ince be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against?

The fish­eries min­is­ter has fur­ther in­sulted the peo­ple of this prov­ince by her ac­tions at the NAFO meet­ing held in Nova Sco­tia in Septem­ber. At this meet­ing, the min­is­ter ap­par­ently sup­ported a dou­bling of the cod quota on the Flemish Cap to be caught by for­eign fleets only. These stocks are still con­sid­ered to be in trou­ble.

All the while she was do­ing this ( be­hind closed doors), she once again ig­nored the re­quests of the peo­ple of this prov­ince by not grant­ing our request for an ex­ten­sion of the food fish­ery to com­pen­sate for the al­most 10 days to­tal of gale force winds dur­ing the food fish­ery.

The for­eign­ers ap­pear to be more im­por­tant to the fed­eral govern­ment than the cul­tural rights of the peo­ple of this prov­ince — rights that the min­is­ter said the she un­der­stood.

The min­is­ter has, in our opin­ion, de­ceived the peo­ple of this prov­ince as to what she gave her own con­stituents in PEI and Nova Sco­tia. This mat­ter can only lead us to be­lieve that af­ter 10 years of be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against, that all of At­lantic Canada will not be treated equally.

Are the lo­cal DFO staff re­spon­si­ble for some of this? Af­ter all, it was these lo­cal DFO staff who said the winds were not high in their re­port to the min­is­ter. These same lo­cal DFO staff never sup­ported the food fish­ery.

As we have no mem­ber in the fed­eral Harper govern­ment, there is no one to carry our con­cerns to the fed­eral fish­eries min­is­ter. One can­not ex­pect Peter MacKay to carry our mes­sage to DFO, since he rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of Nova Sco­tia.

If it wasn’t for the ef­forts of the Ru­ral Rights and Boat Own­ers, the Out­door Rights Con­ser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, Cit­i­zens Out­door Rights As­so­ci­a­tion and the New­found­land and Labrador Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion, the peo­ple of this prov­ince may not even have a food fish­ery.

Our or­ga­ni­za­tions are all vol­un­teers and we are de­ter­mined to ag­gres­sively pur­sue this is­sue of the recre­ational/food fish­ery un­til we are treated in a fair man­ner by the Govern­ment of Canada. We ap­pre­ci­ate any and all sup­port in our ef­forts to ob­tain fair treat­ment for New­found­land and Labrador.

Rick Bouzan New­found­land and Labrador

Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion

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