The following letter was sent to MP John Weston and copied to Coast Reporter
Dear Mr. Weston:
The Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable appreciates the discussions we’ve had with you to date, including meetings with the Fisheries Minister Ashfield and Shea.
However, we are immensely concerned with the significant changes proposed in the budget implementation act that we feel will degrade protections to fish and fish habitat.
the ability of the federal government to delegate fish habitat protection, pollution prevention and fisheries management to the provinces;
the prohibitions against the harmful alteration disruption or destruction of habitat and the killing of fish, that they will be narrowed by cabinet in the future to one prohibition against “serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery.” “Serious harm to fish” is a new concept defined as “death of fish or any permanent alteration to, or destruction of, fish habitat”.
amendment (s. 35(2)(c)) allowing the government to delegate to industry, developers or provinces the right to authorize adverse effects on fish and fish habitat. This is akin to allowing the fox to guard the chicken coop;
changes being proposed before the release of the Cohen Commission final report which may include recommendations around fish habitat protection.
Significant changes are being proposed rapidly, hence, to allow more meaningful dialogue on all these issues regarding the Budget Implementation Act we request that the changes be separated by issue (e.g., Fisheries Act changes, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act changes, etc.).
On Behalf of Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable Group
Hon. John Fraser
Randall W Lewis, Squamish First Nation
Dave Brown, vice-chair Squamish to Lillooet Sportfish Advisory Committee