Question Period Highlight – independence of the Nova Scotia inshore fleet

November 18, 2014

Your NDP MLAs are hard at work in the legislature this fall, holding the government to account during Question Period on a number of key issues, including job loses since Stephen McNeil became Premier, and how the Liberals’ health board amalgamation distraction is causing their government to take their eye off what really matters – front line care. Here is a question NDP Fisheries Critic Sterling Belliveau asked Keith Colwell about the independence of the Nova Scotia inshore fishing fleet.

STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. On April 2014, controlling agreements in the Atlantic Canada fisheries was supposed to be dismantled by DFO; however some in the industry are concerned that loopholes exist to allow parts of the controlling agreements to remain in effect. As a result, LFA 34 fisheries port reps and the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation are worried that DFO officials, both in Ottawa and Atlantic Canada, lack both the capacity and the willingness to completely do away with controlling agreements. I’ll table those letters sent to Minister Gail Shea to that effect.

My question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, can the minister outline any compensations or correspondence he has had with his federal counterpart regarding the elimination of controlling agreements in Atlantic Canada?

KEITH COLWELL: I would like to see a copy of those letters and I would be pleased to comment on it.

STERLING BELLIVEAU: Well, for the business of the House, those letters were sent to the minister earlier this year. Mr. Speaker, in both letters I just tabled, independent fishers are requesting that DFO establish an auditing process, separate from DFO in our region, to review all controlling agreements to ensure that they all have been terminated.

My question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, will the minister ensure to the lobster fishing industry that he supports their request for an audit of controlling agreements, and that he will continue to endorse the policy of preserving the independence of the Nova Scotia inshore fleet?

KEITH COLWELL « » : Indeed we do support the independence of the local inshore fishing fleet, and we will continue to do so. They’re very important to our economy.