REPORTING · 27th April 2011
The second question regarded the Halibut Allocation. He said the Canadian fishermen receive 12% and the Commercial fisherman receive 88%. He wanted to know why the Conservative Government would not tell the people of Canada who the commercial fishermen are.
Clay Harmon answered first. He said the students at the afternoon session asked the same question. He said it was a complex issue. He has been speaking with sport fisheries people and commercial fishermen. He said there is no simple solution. He does not buy answers which are simple. He pointed out both sides want to sit down at the same table and work out a long term solution.
Kyle Warwick said this is a problem when decisions are made in a top down manner, saying what is best from Ottawa without consulting sport’s fishermen and commercial fishermen. He suggested rethinking the priorities here and not in Ottawa.
Rod Taylor said the question was why the Federal government was not answering the question when Canada is supposed to have freedom of information. He was under the impression the people of Canada owned the halibut and the buying and selling of quota by people who were not using it. He said it was not fair for one person to hold it, make money on it, and deny access to other Canadians.
Nathan Cullen said the answer was direct and simple over who owns the quota. He said it is difficult to get an answer out of the federal government. This is a public resource. The underlying philosophy was this could be bought and sold, public made private and this is what has happened. He said it will not end with halibut and will create a scenario where people who want to go fishing have to pay for the privilege to go access Canadian resource. The Canadian Government have been advised but are not listening.
Maggie Braun was next. She said the Harper Government does not like answering questions. She’s been trying to get answers out of the government for two and a half years and the government is effective at not telling people what is going on. She says her colleagues say its not right what is going on but they are not changing anything. Companies are buying up Canadian Resources and selling them off. She was in favour of getting Canada out of the deals and getting the resources back.
Roger Benham said the Canadians do not own the Halibut in the sea, we have the power to control how many fish are caught out of the sea. We do not own them until we have caught them. He said the green party attitude was to maintain the fish so they do not end up eating jellyfish. He said there needs to be more government control.