Category Archives: Fisheries

Tankers too risky for coast environment


I am, God knows, no scientist and it’s this that made by heart warm when I saw the story in the Vancouver Sun, September 1 at page A5 headlined “Tankers too risky for coast environment, engineers say”.

Three engineers including two professors emeritus from UBC have verified what I and others have been saying for some time. From the story: “Known as Dilbit, diluted bitumen is a mix of heavy crude oil and a condensate that allows it to flow through a pipe, the analysis explains. When Dilbit spills occur, the condensate separates from the bitumen and forms a toxic cloud, poisonous to all life around a spill” …

“And whereas lighter oil floats on the surface of water where it’s easier to clean up, bitumen sinks to the bottom in fresh water and to a level below the surface in saline water.”

“In both cases it is almost impossible to clean up and tides and currents can spread it over vast areas, with severe and catastrophic consequences for fisheries, marine life, and human safety.” (Emphasis added)

This is scarcely the whole picture when we remember that the Enbridge pipeline travels 1100 kms over the world’s most formidable terrain where the spills are many times more likely to happen than on the coast and will be unreachable by the company which won’t be able to do anything about them anyway. Because these spills will remain, we have a serial polluter on our hands with each new spill adding a new area of devastation.

There is another area no one seems to want to talk about – vandalism or terrorism. We have seen examples of this with gas lines in the Peace area – why do we ignore them with Enbridge and the Kinder Morgan lines.

Yet one more area of concern is how the public and the authorities ever know if there’s a spill on either of these lines. Kinder Morgan has had spills in populated areas but have there been others along their lines that have simply been repaired with none any the wiser?

It’s past time for Premier Clark to make it clear that the Province opposes both the pipelines and the tanker traffic and will do all in its power to prevent them from happening.


Former DFO Manager, Minister: Harper ‘Disembowelled’ Science Budget for Enbridge Review


Read this story from the Vancouver Sun on evidence that despite his feigned commitment to “listen to science” on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, Prime Minster Stephen Harper has “disembowelled” the science budget for the pipeline review. (Aug. 20, 2012)

VANCOUVER – While Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the fate of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to tankers on the British Columbia coast will be based on science and not politics, documents show some of that science isn’t forthcoming.

And critics say there is no time for the science to be completed before a federal deadline for the environmental assessment currently underway.

Documents filed with the National Energy Board show the environmental review panel studying the Northern Gateway project asked Fisheries and Oceans Canada for risk assessments for the bodies of water the proposed pipeline will cross. The pipeline is to traverse nearly 1,000 streams and rivers in the upper Fraser, Skeena and Kitimat watersheds.

The department didn’t have them.

“As DFO has not conducted a complete review of all proposed crossings, we are unable to submit a comprehensive list as requested; however, this work will continue and, should the project be approved, our review will continue into the regulatory permitting phase,” DFO wrote in a five-page letter dated June 6, 2012.

The response went on to say there “may be differences of opinion” between the company and the department on the risk posed by the pipeline at some crossings. It provided two examples of crossings of tributaries to the Kitimat River where Enbridge rated the risk as low but Fisheries rated it medium to high.

DFO said the federal ministry will continue to work with the company to determine the risk level and level of mitigation required.

“DFO is of the view that the risk posed by the project to fish and fish habitat can be managed through appropriate mitigation and compensation measures,” said the department’s response.

“Under the current regulatory regime, DFO will ensure that prior to any regulatory approvals, the appropriate mitigation measures to protect fish and fish habitat will be based on the final risk assessment rating that will be determined by DFO.”

Earlier this month, Harper told reporters in Vancouver that “decisions on these kinds of projects are made through an independent evaluation conducted by scientists into the economic costs and risks that are associated with the project, and that’s how we conduct our business.”

He went on to say “the only way that government can handle controversial projects of this manner is to ensure that things are evaluated on an independent basis, scientifically, and not simply on political criteria.”

But the federal government recently sent letters to 92 habitat staff members within Fisheries and Oceans in B.C., telling them that their positions will be cut. Thirty-two of them will be laid off outright.

The cuts will mean the department in B.C. has half the habitat staff it had a decade ago.

All but five of the province’s fisheries field offices will be cut as part of a $79 million — 5.8 per cent — cut to the department’s operational budget, including the offices in Prince George and Smithers that would have had the lead in monitoring pipeline effects.

The marine contaminant group that would have been involved in a spill in B.C. has been disbanded and the fisheries and environmental legislation gutted, said Otto Langer, a retired fisheries department scientist.

“He (Harper) says the science will make the decision. Well he’s basically disembowelled the science,” said Langer. “It’s a cruel hoax that they’re pulling over on the public.”

Former federal Liberal fisheries minister David Anderson agrees.


Commercial, Recreational Sockeye Fisheries Likely Closed for 2012


Read this story from, reporting that the commercial and recreational sockeye fisheries likely won’t open in 2012, due to low returns on the Fraser River. (Aug. 16, 2012)

British Columbia’s lucrative commercial and recreational sockeye salmon fishery is not likely to open this year, as Fisheries and Oceans Canada says there are simply not enough fish coming back.

Although there has been enough returning fish to fill the spawning grounds and open an aboriginal fishery, numbers have actually started to decrease.

In order for a commercial fishery to operate, the number of summer run sockeye salmon would have had to be roughly double last week’s count.

“Returns to some of the populations this year have been fairly good,” said Barry Rosenberger, co-chair of the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Fraser River Panel.

“But overall, we haven’t achieved a total abundance that would allow us to commercially fish.”

Read more:


BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix has tools available to him to stop the Enbridge pipeline (CP photo)

Dix Can Reclaim Control Over Fish, Pipelines and Tankers from Harper


Dear Adrian Dix,
You and your party have taken a strong stand against the Enbridge Pipeline and tanker issues, for which I applaud you. I think you should broaden this policy, but first some background.
Stephen Hume has a fascinating article in the Saturday July 14 Vancouver Sun in which he quotes a man from Kitimat who, with the assistance of a man with mathematical training, vetted by a Mathematics professor at Thompson Rivers University, assessed the risk of spills, ruptures, etc. from the Enbridge Pipeline and tankers out of Kitimat, using Enbridge’s own figures. The results are scary, to say the least. By all means, read the article, but the bottom line is that over 50 years there is an 87% chance of a major spill on land or sea.
Here, Mr. Dix, are two other major factors – we know that getting any sort of cleanup on land is virtually non-existent due to the terrain and all but impossible at sea, AND, as Kalamazoo teaches us, there’s very little that can be done to clean up these spills. Very quickly after a spill on water, the bitumen is freed from the condensate which permits it to be piped, and it sinks like a rock.
There is one other new factor the BC government must face – almost nil protection of fish and their habitat by The Department of Fisheries and Oceans thanks to Bill C-38.
We have a jurisdictional clash here, for under The Constitution Act, federal power over fisheries is paramount but the Provinces have control over “Property and Civil Rights”.
Now we get into sticky ground here, but there’s no question in my mind that the Province can and should legislate so as to protect all wildlife, which is its clear right. Hunting laws are provincial as are fishing laws over those which do not go to sea. The dangerous ground is that if the “pith and substance” of your laws was to deal in fisheries over which Ottawa has jurisdiction it might be struck down by the courts.
There is absolutely no need to be concerned about that if you proceed properly.
Dealing with the pipeline, there is an unquestionable provincial right to protect all fauna and flora. Properly done, this would not be a ruse or look like a ruse to trample on the Federal jurisdiction over fisheries but a legitimate effort to protect our trees and our wildlife. Moreover, how could the feds be heard to complain that the matters under their jurisdiction are being protected?
The same argument applies to the coast, where birds and bears depend upon a pristine climate within which to live and eat.
Now, what I suggest Mr Dix, is that your legal beagles go to work and prepare draft legislation which could be tabled as a private member’s bill at the next sitting of the legislature – assuming there is one – and made public in the meantime. From a strictly political point of view, I can think of nothing more useful than having the Feds challenge the constitutionality of your position.
You should go one step further – return to the local governments their power to permit development in their bailiwicks as they had before the Campbell/Clark government took it away. They did that for the Ashlu private power plant. We know from the result of that project that the fish died in ponds because too much water was sucked out of the river. The Ashlu River would still be free of impediments to fish had the Squamish-Lilloett Regional District’s jurisdiction been honoured.
You have spoken loud and clear Mr, Dix – it’s time to put it in writing.

BC's Fraser River sockeye face increased risks as many DFO employees working in habitat protection stand to lose their jobs

Harper Wasting No Time Slashing DFO Habitat Jobs as Notices go out to Staff


According to Otto Langer, the former senior DFO scientist and manager who first blew the whistle on Stephen Harper’s plan to gut the Fisheries Act, the job cuts associated with Harper’s program will soon be taking effect in BC. Langer sent out the following warning on June 27.

Today all DFO habitat protection and management staff in Canada are receiving letters that they are now “red-circled” – i.e. they are being affected by Bill C-38 with it’s budget and habitat legislation and program cuts (i.e. DFO downsizing) and many will soon not have a job. Yesterday all staff in the BC-Yukon region were advised of this happening in a telephone call from Pacific Regional Director General Susan Farlinger. Staff were directed to not discuss this with anyone and only DFO Ottawa was allowed to comment on the issue.

132 habitat staff across Canada will be fired (laid off) in the next few months in that many will have to compete for remaining jobs. In the Pacific Region, they now have 92 staff and that is to be reduced to 60 – an approximate 33% cut in staff. Also, all habitat office locations in Pacific Region are to be closed down, with the exception of Whitehorse, Prince Rupert, Kamloops, Vancouver and Nanaimo. That means offices such as those in Mission, Campbell River, Prince George, Nelson, Williams Lake, Smithers, Port Hardy, etc. are to be shut down. If the Enbridge and natural gas pipelines go across northern BC, there will be no habitat staff in Prince George or Smithers, etc. to respond to potential disasters – the closest offices will be Prince Rupert or Kamloops.

The office in Port Hardy has looked after salmon farming issues, which it will be unable to do now.

This puts DFO back where it was in the early 1980s, i.e. 5 offices in BC and even less staff than they had in 1983 with many giant projects such as Enbridge, gas lines, gas liquification plants, New Prosperity Gold Mine, Site C Dam on the Peace River, Panamax tankers of jet fuel up the Fraser River, Roberts Bank Port expansion, etc. now being proposed and pushed along. Never in the past 50 year history of habitat protection have we seen such great cuts in staff the face of upcoming massive industrial development that can and will harm habitat and our fisheries of the future.

Finally, Ottawa has given all DFO habitat staff directions to remove the “Habitat Management Program” title from their organization and from their offices, etc. in that they are now to be called the “Fisheries Protection Program”.

In summary, this puts DFO back to where they were in the late 1970s in terms of habitat staff numbers in the Pacific Region, but with next to no legislation to protect overall habitat and a greatly reduced presence in the field where the habitat damage takes place. Their efforts will of course be distracted over the next year or more in that staff will have to compete for the surviving 60 positions and put their minds to what they can do for a living when laid off and where they move to to get a job to support their families, etc. I am told the already very low morale of the staff was destroyed by Bill C-38 and now it has received its final blow – the willingness and direction to do their jobs can now be measured in negative quantities.

One can now say that the Harper Government has ‘right-sized’ the workload for the reduced number of staff! They will protect less habitat, despite the incredulous claims of DFO Minister Ashfield and many Conservative MPs that DFO will provide the fishery with better, more focused protection. More staff-related budget cuts have been outlined for 2013 and 2014.

All DFO habitat protection offices from Quebec to the BC-Alberta border, i.e. Central and Arctic Region, will also be drastically cut and all offices will be shut down except in Ottawa, Burlington, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Yellowknife. It is indicated that of 63 DFO offices in Canada with habitat staff (now “fisheries protection” staff), most will be closed and the number of offices having habitat-type program staff will be reduced to 14 for a giant geographic area – i.e. Canada.

Conservative MP James Moore poses in front of an artist's depiction of a wild BC salmon; last week, Moore abandoned the real thing.

BC Conservative MPs Who Abandoned Our Wild Salmon May Find Voters Abandoning Them


Note well the names that follow, for they are British Columbia MPs who voted for the final destruction of the Pacific Salmon, the sea going Rainbow trout (Steelhead), river resident Cutthroat, resident Rainbow trout, river dwelling Dolly Varden and Bull trout:
Don Albas, Ron Cannan, John Duncan, Ed Fast, Kerrry-Lynne Findlay, Nina Grewal, Richard Harris, Russ Heibert, Randy Kamp, James Lunney, Colin Mayes, Cathy McLeod, James Moore, Andrew Saxton, Mark Strahl, Mark Warawa, John Weston, David Wilks, Alice Wong, Wai Young, and Bob Zimmer.
These toadies are our Conservative Members of Parliament, the blind followers of ultra-conservative Stephen Harper. They voted for Bill C-38, which in itself was a gross abdication of democracy in that it was an act to amend the Budget Act, yet included in it critical amendments to the Fisheries Act and many other environmental protections, making it all but a slam dunk for developers to ravage salmon habitat.
These lickspittles uttered not a word of objection (except Wilks, when caught on candid camera, before promptly recanting) that Harper abused an omnibus bill in order to restrict debate on amendments to the Fisheries Act, then proceeded to vote for it.
The Conservative Party under Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper started their war on our salmon back in the 1980s when they muzzled Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) scientists over the Alcan plan to lower the Nechako River, near Prince George, to dangerous levels, thus threatening runs of sockeye salmon en route to their spawning grounds. The danger came in summertime, when excessive heat would meet low waters – a certainty which then-Fisheries Minister Tom Siddon called “an acceptable risk”. DFO scientists had studied Alcan’s plans and vigorously opposed them and one by one they were moved sidewise, given early retirement or forced by their own code of honour to remove themselves.
The government passed an order-in-council forbidding the usual environmental assessment process, clearly knowing that it would have to call these scientists to give evidence, thus exposing the Kemano Completion program for what it was – naked aggression against the salmon.
Along the way, the DFO, mandated to protect the fish, was instructed to support Atlantic salmon fish farms on the west coast, driving another nail into the coffin of our sacred signature salmon. DFO, unable to enforce the act while supporting the presence of fish farms chose, under stern political guidance, to avoid enforcement of their mandate to protect west coast salmon. Now they have virtually no power to restrain any development. They are eunuchs.
Here’s how the Sudbury Star put it:

Bill C-38 does a lot more than simply implement the federal budget. It eviscerates many of Canada’s historic environmental laws, and establishes a new regime that promotes unrestrained economic development at the expense of environmental protection. For starters, Bill C-38 will repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, one of the foundational pieces of legislation, which for decades has required an assessment of impacts when development is proposed. In place of the Act, the Conservatives are offering new legislation that will severely restrict the required assessment of environmental impacts, and limit opportunities for input from the public and First Nations.

The Fisheries Act will also be gutted by the omnibus bill, as fish habitat protections will be removed. Tom Siddon, the former Tory minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Brian Mulroney’s government, expressed his outrage over this regressive step to managing the economically important fisheries resource.

Why would the government want to gut the Fisheries Act?

Anyone in mind who might like these changes?

Here’s what Postmedia reports:

Federal fisheries officials were having “troubling” disagreements with Enbridge Inc. over the company’s interpretation of its responsibility to protect fish habitat along the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline route before the company submitted its project proposal in 2010, according to internal documents.

Enbridge was concluding some of the crossings, over an estimated 1,000 waterways, were low risk when fisheries biologists felt the same were medium or high risk to fish and fish habitat, according to emails obtained through the Access to Information Act.

Here’s what The Northern View wrote, reporting on Prince Rupert Council’s opposition to C-38:

Bill C-38 also includes the changes to the Environmental Assessment system for big industrial projects, and the provision that gives the federal cabinet final say over decisions made by the National Energy Board. This change has lead to a considerable loss of confidence in the Enbridge Joint Review Panel hearings by local Northern Gateway opponents, who, at the last hearing in Prince Rupert, repeatedly accused the panel of being stripped of credibility and authority.

Many, including me, have been making the point for years that under our system, Members of Parliament do not represent their constituencies but, instead, return to their ridings to tell us what Ottawa is doing to us and that we can like it or lump it.

I understand, from personal experience, how hard it is for an individual to disagree with the leader and do so publicly. But surely a time comes when the leader is so egregiously in contempt of an MP’s interests that he/she must lay it on the line, knowing it will be politically fatal. If this is not the case, what the hell do we need the MP for anyway? Is their only role to do what they’re told and check it out when a constituent’s pension cheque is late?

One of the consequences of this tight discipline is that the MP no longer informs him/herself of contentious issues. I spoke with my Tory MP, John Weston, a couple of weeks ago and it was obvious that he knew dick-all about the pipelines issue, to add to his utter ignorance of the private power (IPPs) issue. Why learn the other side when you’re going to vote as you are told? What’s the point of cluttering one’s mind with facts when they don’t count for a damn thing when you come to vote?

The system stinks but it will survive as long as the government has absolute control over government members. Here we have the proof – every single BC Conservative MP voted in favour of further decimating our Pacific salmon and their cousins.

For shame! On our Tory MPs for not standing up for their province and on all of us for not understanding how our dishonest system fails us, thus not doing anything to force a change.

Sockeye and other fish and wildlife are threatened by plans to ship jet fuel through the Fraser River estuary (Land Conservancy photo)

Jet Fuel Tankers in Fraser River Would Put Critical Fish Habitat at Risk


As Parliament debates the watering down and the neutering of environmental legislation in Canada you again must be made aware that the lack of leadership by Environment Canada and DFO (with the laws they now have) have allowed one of the most irresponsible projects to be proposed for construction in the world class Fraser River and its globally significant estuary that is home to some of the largest salmon runs and migratory wildlife populations in the world. If Bill C-38 is passed as is, this valuable river and key fishery habitat will receive less protection than it has over the past  few years despite what the Minister Ashfield has promised – a more focused effort to better conserve key habitats and fisheries. This promise is nothing less than a cruel hoax.

The Fraser River is is one of the most critical fishery rivers and key fishery habitats in the world and that fishery does not now receive proper protection and with Bill C-38 it will get much worse. In the past decade DFO and EC have not done their job in enforcing their sections of the Fisheries Act and above all have compromised proper and comprehensive environmental reviews that can harm fish and migratory birds and their essential habitats.

The Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC) attempted to barge jet fuel into the Fraser River in 1988. The then Federal Environmental Review Process held proper hearings and rejected that proposal in 1989 as too great a threat to the estuary and public safety. Imagine – better environmental protection some 23 years ago! Despite that finding, the VAFFC refused to build a safer option – a pipeline from the Vancouver Airport to the Cherry Point refinery and large fuel dock near Bellingham in Washington State.

Two years ago VAFFC detected that times had changed and environmental laws were not being applied (despite the misleading claims of the opposite from DFO Minister Ashfield and Ministers Kent and Oliver) and applied to ship giant Panamax tankers of cheaper jet fuel from offshore locations into the very fragile and highly productive Fraser River Estuary, build a large offloading terminal several kilometers upstream and there store up to 80,000,000 litres of toxic and highly flammable jet fuel on the shores of the Fraser River. So as to ignore the Federal CEAA process, whose weak regulations did not even trigger a comprehensive or public panel review of this major project, VAFFC asked the BC Environmental Assesment Office for a voluntary review and Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) then accepted the Province as a lead in a so called harmonized review with PMV. Most citizens and local city councils have found this arrangement totally unacceptable and unethical.

Why would the Federal government allow a junior government lead review when this is a federal airport, federal port, federal migratory birds, federal fish and habitat and relates to a federal pilotage authority, federal navigable waters and Canadian shipping laws? Also why would the Federal Government delegate environmental impact review to the port (PMV) that is dedicated to industrial development in fish and wildlife habitat areas? This is one of the greatest conflicts of interest imaginable. In this project, PMV will indeed profit from any project approval. Only a lower level Environment Canada official to date has stated in writing that this project is unacceptable (August 2011) – i.e.: “The project would present a new and unacceptable risk to the locally, nationally and internationally-important fish and wildlife populations of the Fraser River Estuary, including migratory birds and species at risk…” and “Environment Canada is of the opinion that there is a limited ability with currently available technologies to effectively control a potential Jet-A fuel spill in the Fraser river Estuary”.

Last week the PMV released a new report rationalizing the low risk of tanker traffic in the Fraser River. This is despite the fact that the VAFFC could have up to 100 tankers and barges a year entering the estuary full of toxic and  flammable jet fuel. We have had a safety systems engineer review the tanker traffic report produced by offshore consultants for PMV. A covering letter from VAPOR and the VAPOR tanker traffic critique are attached for your information and action.

It is urgently requested that BC MLAs and federal MPs look into this matter, in that we are witnessing a serious slide into a high risk activity in this world class fish and wildlife habitat area and the BC and Federal environmental assessment processes seem unwilling to relate to this project in a a serious or meaningful way. Also if Bill C-38 is passed by the Harper Government, this type of irresponsible risk exposure to our environment and public safety is bound to increase greatly over the next several years and our living resources in the river and their habitats will again be further degraded. Our children and grand children will damn those that allowed this to happen.

It is urgent that you now act on these matters in that Canada will be greatly diminished if this type of irresponsible environmental planning and assessment is allowed to continue.


Widespread Oppostion to Gutting of Fisheries Act Through Bill C-38: Sun Special Report


Read this investigative report – the second part of a four part series from the Vancouver Sun examining the Harper Government’s clash with conservationists over its omnibus budget bill and the Enbridge pipeline. This installment focuses on the concerns of fisheries biologists, academics, conservationists and First Nations over Harper’s plan to gut the Fisheries Act through Bill C-38. (June 6)

Otto Langer has devoted his adult life to protecting fish habitat.

Now he wonders if it was all for nothing. The retired head of habitat assessment and planning for the federal Fisheries Department in B.C. and Yukon describes the Conservative government’s planned changes to the Fisheries Act as the biggest setback to conservation law in Canada in half a century. And he takes it very personally.

“I feel I have wasted my lifetime, that I should have done something else,” says Langer, who now predicts a gradual decline in fish habitat if the changes take effect.

Through a massive package of proposed laws in Bill C-38, Ottawa plans to limit federal protection of fish habitat to activities resulting in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, sport or aboriginal fishery. Across the country, hundreds of scientists have condemned the change.

“It’s going to remove freshwater protection for most fishes in Canada, which can’t be a good thing,” says University of B.C. zoology department professor Eric Taylor, who also cochairs a federal committee that advises the government on species at risk.

“Habitat is not just a place to live; it’s a place to breed, rest, avoid predators, get food.”

Taylor argues the Fisheries Department should be fighting for biodiversity. “They should have an interest in protecting Canada’s aquatic biodiversity – for all Canadians. They now seem to be abandoning that.”

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield has said the changes will focus federal protection efforts “where they are needed,” provide clearer and more efficient regulations, and create partnerships with provinces, aboriginal groups and conservation organizations.

He promised to provide better enforcement of the rules, and also to protect “ecologically significant areas,” such as sensitive spawning grounds or where the cumulative impact of development is a concern.

So-called minor works, such as cottage docks and irrigation ditches, will be identified and no longer require permits, said Ashfield, who refused to be interviewed for this article.

Critics consider the bill a regressive step that is certain to have serious impacts on fish.

Read more:

Oppostion House Leader Nathan Cullen has come out swinging against Harper's Bill C-38 (photo: Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)

Opposition Parties Turn Up Heat on Harper’s Omnibus Bill


Federal opposition parties, along with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, are ratcheting up their campaign against Stephen Harper’s Bill C-38 omnibus budget bill. Party representatives say they’ll use any tools at their disposal to push the Prime Minister to abandon a number of non-budgetary items in the 400-plus page bill – including the controversial gutting of the fisheries act, watering down of environmental assessment processes and upping the age for old age security benefits.

NDP Opposition House Leader Nathan Cullen and Liberal MP Marc Garneau described to CBC’s Evan Solomon this week the parliamentary roadblocks their parties are prepared to place in the path of Bill C-38. Chief among these tactics is the use of votes on amendments to individual clauses of the bill – as many as 400, according to Cullen – designed to slow down the passage of the bill and force Harper to consider breaking it into smaller pieces.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been actively attacking the omnibus bill as well – raising the issue through social media and teaming up with the Liberals to augment her political effectiveness. May is unable to debate the bill at the committee level as her party lacks official status, but as Garneau explained to Solomon, his party is working with May to represent many of her proposed amendments to the bill dealing with the stripping of environmental regulations and protections.

May’s petition to abandon Bill C-38 has garnered over 20,000 likes and shares on facebook this week. Watch her video below explaining her party’s issues with the budget bill and calling on citizens to take action to stop it.

The most controversial non-budgetary components of the bill – particularly the gutting of habitat protections from the Fisheries Act – continue to draw widespread media coverage and provoke growing outrage amongst environmental groups and voters across the country. However, it remains to be seen what effect these measures will have on the majority Harper Government’s plans with Bill C-38, expected to go to a vote in the House as soon as next week.




Former Ministers Fraser, Anderson Should be Listened to on Gutting Fisheries Act…Siddon, Not So Much


This short blog is a result of a call from John Fraser.
This from the CBC, a news story across the land this week:
Four former federal fisheries ministers are questioning the government’s motives behind the inclusion of environmental protection changes to the Fisheries Act in the Budget Implementation Act.”

Mulroney-era Conservatives Tom Siddon and John Fraser, and Liberals Herb Dhaliwal and David Anderson, who both served under Jean Chretien, say in an open letter they don’t believe federal ministers have given plausible explanations for why so much environmental legislation has been included in a money bill.

Former fisheries ministers have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, questioning his government’s decision to include major changes to the Fisheries Act in the omnibus budget bill. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“Quite frankly, Canadians are entitled to know whether these changes were written, or insisted upon, by the minister of fisheries or by interest groups outside the government. If the latter is true, exactly who are they?” ask the four in an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

I find it interesting that Siddon has found religion, considering that when he was minister, the Kemano Completion Plan was authorized – a project that would have seen two major sockeye runs imperilled. I wonder if he’s now prepared to apologize to me and pay the insurer back over the conflict regarding my coverage of the issue at CKNW?

The fact that all four former federal fisheries ministers have taken a strong position on an omnibus bill that will not imperil but most surely devastate fisheries, fresh and salt water, across the land, should be taken seriously by the Prime Minister and his loyal lickspittles.

The two important voices are those of John Fraser and David Anderson,  both lifetime environmentalists who had, while in cabinet, the clout to protect fish and unhesitatingly risked their portfolios – something the present minister, Keith Ashfield, hasn’t the guts to do.

It’s not easy laying your ministry on the line, I can tell you from experience – but if you won’t, what the hell are you there for?

An omnibus bill is as it sounds – one bill to cover various areas of legislation. It’s traditional role has been one of housekeeping – fixing bad grammar, bad draughtsmanship and that sort of thing. Recent governments have taken it as vehicle where several unrelated, politically touchy areas are put into one bill to restrict the Opposition’s ability to oppose the individual issues.

It is a mark of an arrogant government that cares not for the spirit of parliamentary democracy and couldn’t care less for any who are not their supporters or, in Ashfield’s case, flunkies.

Scarcely a minor matter, the stripping away of protection of fish habitat is the death knell for an already badly wounded animal. The reason for it is to satisfy developers who traditionally pay big money into party bank accounts – I wonder if Tom Siddon is saying this now, since my saying it brought a lawsuit from him.

Canadians across the country must understand what this means and unite their voices against the Harper Herd no matter what their personal politics. This appallingly arrogant Prime Minister must be stopped before our Pacific salmon becomes a curiosity found only in occasional rivers to satisfy rich fishermen, as has become the case in Europe.

When John Fraser and David Anderson speak out on the subject of fisheries in this country they should be listened to.