Byrne claims moral victory

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

New­found­land MP Gerry Byrne claimed the House of Com­mons’ Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Fisheries scored a moral victory last week in favour of the New­found­land fish­ery.

The com­mit­tee, of which Mr. Byrne is a mem­ber, voted late Tues­day in favour of a mo­tion tabled by the MP against pro­posed con­tro­ver­sial North­west At­lantic Fisheries Or­ga­ni­za­tion (NAFO) amend­ments. They in­cluded a change to NAFO’s vot­ing sys­tem feared to make it dif­fi­cult for Canada to gain sup­port for con­ser­va­tion de­ci­sions and a pro­posal com­pro­mis­ing Canada’s sovereignt­y over its 200-mile exclusive eco­nomic zone.

The Lib­eral MP for Hum­ber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte said his mo­tion to con­demn the amend­ments was passed with a six-to-five vote, in­clud­ing sup­port from Lib­eral, Bloc Que­be­cois and NDP mem­bers on the stand­ing com­mit­tee.

Mr. Byrne in­di­cated the de­ci­sion of the com­mit­tee was tabled in the House of Com­mons Wed­nes­day, while the amend­ments them­selves were tabled Thurs­day, with a fi­nal vote tak­ing place in the House by to­day, Nov. 24.

He said if the com­mit­tee vote is any in­di­ca­tion, the amend­ments could be voted down in the House of Com­mons this week, but that vote is still not bind­ing on gov­ern­ment. The fed­eral cab­i­net can de­cide against the House vote. Mr. Byrne sug­gested “At least we’ve got a moral victory here.”

He noted the vote of the stand­ing com­mit­tee is now a recorded vote on the NAFO treaty.

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