Monday, September 24, 2018

Time for Federal Fisheries Minister Wilkinson to book a flight to Prince Rupert

Have you seen this man?
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan
Cullen would like the NW to
have the chance!
Inviting Fisheries Minister
Jonathan Wilkinson (above)
to come to the Northwest to
learn of local fishery issues
When it comes to picking up the phone and touching base, NDP MP Nathan Cullen seems to be suggesting these days that Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is ducking his calls and avoiding having to face some of the issues of the fishery in the region.

With a month under his belt to learn the key issues of his new portfolio, the Minister has been somewhat off the radar on many of the issues of the fishery, with the summer of 2018 having provided for more concerns over the state of fish stocks on the Pacific coast and the impact that has been delivered to  those living in coastal communities that rely on both the commercial and sport fishery for a living.

Last week the Skeena-Bulkley Valley was on a bit of a media blitz, expressing his frustrations with the Minister, seeking to have him address some of the many issues of the Northwest and North Coast fishery.

Cullen disappointed in New Federal Fisheries Minister
Nathan Cullen's frustration with Federal Fisheries Minister (video)
NDP MP Cullen frustrated with salmon season
Cullen to fisheries minister: do your job

As we outlined on the blog earlier this month, Mr. Wilkinson was named to his portfolio in August, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassigned the deck chairs on the Liberal ship, providing some extensive terms of office for the new minister.

See mandate letter here

The priorities that the Prime Minister has tasked his Minister to address draw heavily from the Liberals election platform commitments of 2014, with a strong focus on environmental elements and the Government's Oceans Protection Plan.

Should Mr. Cullen finally be able to make contact with the Minister to issue his invitation for a tour of the region, he'll be able to share some additional feedback courtesy of the recent UBCM convention in Whistler.

At that week long political gathering, delegates voted to endorse the City of Prince Rupert proposed resolution on the BC fishery,

With those attending the convention offering up a few modifications to the document which calls on the province and Federal government to work together to implement a regulatory framework that would incorporate the principles of fleet separation, owner-operation an adjacency.

Joy Thorkelsons quest to raise
interest in issues of the BC fishery
found success at UBCM this month
The resolution, which was spear headed by outgoing City Councillor Joy Thorkelson, who is also President of UFAWU-Unifor, also called for the Fisheries Act and Regulations to be changed so working fishers and BC Coastal Communities benefit from the fisheries.

Those twin themes have been issues that Ms. Thorkelson has been a strong proponent for over the last number of years, with the push to gain further attention towards them coming after the Canadian Fish Company shut down its canning operations at the Prince Rupert plant  back in.

Should Minister Wilkinson ever pick up the phone to touch base with Mr. Cullen and set up that tour of the Northwest, there will certainly be no shortage of issues to discuss with local residents on the state of coastal fishery.

But, first, he needs to make the call ...

For more items related to the Fishing industry on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Further items of interest from Parliament and the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding can be found from our House of Commons archive.

A wider overview of federal issues can be reviewed from our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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