Liberal lobster fee legislation requires regulations
April 20, 2015
NDP MLA Sterling Belliveau says the McNeil government needs to further consult with industry and provide clear regulations before his caucus can support legislation to impose a levy on the lobster industry.
“The McNeil government has the cart before the horse and has basically given itself a license to collect money from the lobster industry without its permission,” says Belliveau. “The way the Minister has handled this issue dating back to last summer has created a lot of confusion and right now the industry has more questions than answers. The Premier should ensure those questions are answered before this bill is allowed to proceed.”
Belliveau lists several key issues that need to be addressed. They include:
– What will the levy or fee be used for?
– How much will this levy or fee cost?
– Will the revenue go to an independent body or will it go into government coffers?
– Who will administer the fee and ensure it is being collected and used properly?
– What will be the auditing process for the fee be, and will findings be made public?
– Will the government allow the industry a vote before the fee is imposed?
– If the fee doesn’t lead to improvements, will industry have a mechanism to refuse it?
Belliveau adds: “This industry has fought hard over several generations to maintain its independence. As I have stated many times, before the McNeil government can impose a lobster fee, they need a mandate from the industry first. They have yet to obtain one.”