Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Green Party picks up on Councillor Thorkelson's theme

For those dedicated blog readers who review our City Council timeline to the very end, last weeks meeting of Council offered up an interesting request from Councillor Joy Thorkelson.

As part of the wrap up to the lengthy session of last week, Councillor Thorkelson urged her fellow councillors and Mayor Mussallem to lend their support towards a city letter to the provincial parties on the subject of the fishery.

The main thrust of her request, that Council urge the political forces of Victoria to lay claim to the fishery on the West coast, a process that most likely would require a fair amount of negotiation and constitutional change before it were ever to pass.

Her letter would ask Council to send a letter to the political parties:

"Seeking their development of a BC commercial fisheries program and accompanying policies. The program would promote the growth and development of the commercial fisheries and processing sectors in coastal communities, including serious consideration of the State of Alaska style of regional salmon aquaculture"

The councillor would seemingly like to see an Alaska style of fishery in place, with British Columbia setting policy, catchment allotments and all the things that the Federal government currently has domain over.

An interesting turn of events considering the late 1990's and a blockade of an Alaskan ferry, something that took place over anger about the way that the State of Alaska handled its fishery (and the impact that it had on the Canadian version).

Still, the councillor offered up the thought that the Pacific Coast fishery (and we imagine the interests of local residents involved with it) would best be served out of Victoria rather than Ottawa, though one wonders if the provincial government would provide any more money, or attention than that of the Feds.

You can review her presentation from the City's video archive, check in at the 2 hour 27 minute mark for the full proposal for Council's review.

And even before they possibly could even get the letter into the mail, it looks like someone has beaten the councillor to the punch, offering up policy for the upcoming provincial election campaign.

Provincial control of the fishery is a thought that seems to have become part of the Green Party's political focus, with a segment of their just released policy platform dedicated to a BC first fishery.

One which would redraw the current system in place with a major makeover.

Among some of the Green party's suggestions:

Negotiate a transfer of fishery jurisdiction to the provincial level. Proving for a fishery with ecosystem based principles based on maintain all stocks at stable levels in intact habitat.ing

A focus on wild salmon, working towards removing salmon feedlots from British Columbia's wild salmon migration routes.

A shift away from a Commercial fishery controlled by large companies, reforming the fish licencing system by breaking up corporate concentration to restore traditional First Nations fishing practices and promote opportunities for coastal residents and small scale fishers rather than large commercial fisheries.

We're not sure if all of the Green party recommendations fit into the vision of a provincial fishery that Councillor Thorkelson might have, but at the moment, they seem the closest to the changes that she and with their letter, City Council would seem to support.

While it's doubtful at the moment that the Greens might be on the verge of forming a government, they at least have formulated a policy and one that some on the North Coast might have some interest in.

Now if they might want to put forward a candidate to carry the message to the voters, as of today, the Greens have yet to nominate a candidate on the North Coast and for the most part seem inclined to let the NDP carry an environmental and sustainability message into the election campaign.

Whether the other parties and local candidates have an opinion on the fishery repatriation topic remains to be seen.

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