Friday, November 13, 2015

Fisheries Minister's mandate letter notes a number of North Coast issues

Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo
has a rather busy to do list
after today's mandate letter
from PM Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is releasing the details of the mandate letters to his Cabinet today, providing some background on a number of the initiatives that he expects his Ministers to deliver on during the course of the Federal Governments four year mandate.

For the North Coast, one Minister to watch for issues for the region is Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo who will be reviewing files and making decisions that will have an impact on the region.

Mr. Tootoo's mandate letter released today provides for a number of themes of interest for the region, among some of the key points on fisheries issues are.

Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to increase the proportion of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected – to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020 – supported by new investments in community consultation and science

Restore funding to support federal ocean science and monitoring programs, to protect the health of fish stocks, to monitor contaminants and pollution in the oceans, and to support responsible and sustainable aquaculture industries on Canada’s coasts.

Use scientific evidence and the precautionary principle, and take into account climate change, when making decisions affecting fish stocks and ecosystem management.

Act on recommendations of the Cohen Commission on restoring sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River.

The prospect of a moratorium on crude oil traffic on the North Coast is also listed in today's mandate letter, tasking the Fisheries Minister along with those of Transport, Natural Resources and Environment and Climate change to move forward on that initiative.

Work with the Ministers of Transport, Natural Resources and Environment and Climate Change to formalize the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast, including the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound.

The letter also notes the path ahead with the Fisheries Minister along with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister of Natural Resources set to review the environmental assessment processes and introduce a new, fair process that will deliver the following:

Restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction, while also working with provinces and territories to avoid duplication 

Ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public interest 

Provide ways for Canadians to express their views and opportunities for experts to meaningfully participate

Require project advocates to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts. 

The environmental reboot will be of interest for those following the range of LNG and other development projects along the North Coast, though no timeline was listed in the letter to Minister Tootoo as to how fast to proceed on those initiatives.

Mr. Tootoo was also given instructions on the nature of his Coast Guard duties, with plans to move forward to reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base in Vancouver noted among the items for review today.

You can review the full mandate letter to the Minister here.

For more notes on developments out of Ottawa see our archive page here.

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