Dear John …

Is it true that there is a proposal to amend the Fisheries Act removing the section that provides for the protection of habitat?

Dear editor:

Open letter to John Duncan, MP for Vancouver Island North

Dear John:

Is it true that there is a proposal to amend the Fisheries Act removing the section that provides for the protection of habitat?  Is this referring to Section 34 to 43 of the Fisheries Act?

Such information was recently conveyed to me in the March 2012 Living Oceans Newsletter.

If this is in fact true, what is going to replace it?  How is fish habitat going to be protected?

In the definitions of Section 34 of the Fisheries Act, “fish habitat” means spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas on which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes.  

I am dumbfounded to hear that such a train of thought to remove the protection of such a critical resource would even be considered for any reason, especially for economic and budgetary purposes.  

Just in the wording of that definition, it is obvious that there is a need for protection.

Have we as a nation, the people of this country, made a decision that we no longer want or need fish?  Have we as a society, made a decision to turn our backs on the renewable resources of Canada.  Have we as a culture made a decision the we no longer want recreational and commercial fishing as part of the fabric of who and what we are?

If we as a nation, the people of this country have not made these decisions, then why is the Government of Canada acting in such a way that can only be justified if the answers to the above questions were yes.

It’s my belief my fellow Canadians would answer the questions in the above paragraph with a definite, unequivical “No,” we the people of Canada have not made these decisions and we cannot support these decisions being made for us by the Government of Canada.

Kevin VanCleemput

Campbell River