BC NDP response and calls on Premier Christy Clark.
received Wednesday Nov 14th from MLA Joe Trasolini’s office
As you know, Justice Cohen released his report into the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye on Oct. 31. While the problems with the Fraser River populations were a relatively recent phenomenon, there have been significant concerns about the state of salmon populations and habitat for the better part of the past decade. So it is no overstatement to say that efforts that this report – as a means to finally take seriously the problems facing fish populations – was long overdue.
What scientists, First Nations, environmentalists, commercial and sport fisheries businesses, fishery workers, and the official opposition now want to know is what action your government will be taking in response to this report.
Of the 75 recommendations Justice Cohen made, more than 20 impact on provincial jurisdiction. The report made several pointed statements about the failure or refusal of your government to take action to protect crucial salmon habitat. Similarly, your government was unreservedly supportive of regulatory changes made under Bill C-38, the federal government’s omnibus budget bill. Those changes will have tremendous negative effects on crucial salmon habitat in the Fraser.
The report makes comments and recommendations about many other issues under the province’s purview, including:
o the BC Riparian Areas Regulation;
o the ongoing examination of the Water Act;
o overall water quality;
o siting of open pen fish farms;
o regulations and acts regarding forestry;
o pesticide use;
o mining effluent;
o gravel extraction;
o agricultural chemical use.
As you can no doubt appreciate, the health of wild salmon populations are a critical factor in the social, environmental, cultural and economic well-being of the coast and, in fact, of the province as a whole. We cannot afford to lose any more time before taking steps to address the health of salmon populations.
I am hopeful you agree and will commit to respond to the Cohen Commission report without further delay to address areas of the report that fall within provincial jurisdiction.
B.C. New Democrat fisheries critic
Thanks for your patience in waiting for a response.
Constituency Assistant to Joe Trasolini MLA, Port Moody-Coquitlam