Deputy NDP fisheries critic Peter Julian has said he receives more correspondence on the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye-salmon run than on the harmonized sales tax.
In August, the Burnaby–New Westminster MP took a look from the river’s banks and saw how depleted the run was. Now he has launched a petition demanding a judicial inquiry into the collapse.
“We’ve lost 90 percent of the sockeye-salmon run, and it is very clear that we are at the tipping point, I think, similar to what we saw with the Atlantic cod,” Julian told the Straight by cellphone. “Now, with the Atlantic cod there was no action taken, and we know the end of that story. We can’t have the same thing happen to the Pacific sockeye salmon.”
Neither Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea or her department have shown “any understanding of the magnitude of this collapse”, Julian claimed.
He said the NDP is united in calling for “dramatically increased funding for salmon enhancement, [a] move to closed-containment [fish farms], and full consultations with all of those on the coast that are concerned about this issue”—especially First Nations and environmental groups.
In an inquiry, fisheries department staff and other witnesses would testify under oath. Julian would like an inquiry to wrap up in six months and deliver “binding recommendations”.
“There are actions that need to be taken now, and the government has done nothing, absolutely nothing,” Julian said.
Shea’s staff did not make her available for comment by the Straight’s deadline.
Julian said people can sign a petition calling for an inquiry at www.peterjulian.ndp.ca. He said he plans to table it in the House. “And that will be very difficult for the Conservatives to ignore,” Julian said.