Peter Julian (NDP) in Question Period
40th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION
HANSARD • NUMBER 090
Monday, October 5, 2009
Mr. Speaker, Conservatives used to care about the B.C. salmon industry that supports tens of thousands of jobs. With the loss of two million fish in 2004, some B.C. Conservatives actually spoke on the issue, not very well of course, but at least they spoke. That was then, this is now. In 2009, with the disappearance of nine million sockeye salmon, far worse than in 2004, the sound of B.C. Conservative silence is deafening. When will an emergency summit be held on this crisis? When will the fisheries minister take effective action to address this catastrophe?
Mr. Speaker, I have already met personally with harvesters from British Columbia to hear their views on the situation and to provide input on how we should respond. I will be meeting with more British Columbians. The situation is serious; we do realize that. We are working hard to ensure that the response reflects the views of the fishermen out of B.C. interests and that it responds to their needs. The NDP member should at least wait until we present our plan before he starts to criticize anything.
That is the whole point, Mr. Speaker. Where is the action plan? Where is the rescue package? In 20 years, salmon enhancement funding has been slashed in half under Liberals and Conservatives. Decisions being made in Ottawa by Conservatives are crippling our B.C. salmon industry. The minister has not held a summit or provided funding to move to close containment for fish farms. The minister has not undertaken any meaningful action to address this crisis. Why did the Conservatives commit to taking action in 2004 if they had no intention of doing so in government? Why the utterly deplorable lack of action?
Mr. Speaker, this is a serious issue and we take our response seriously. We want to do the right thing. We want to thank all the parties for their patience waiting for the response, but serious issues call for a very well planned and well thought out response. We will be bringing our plan forward.
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