Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

February 01, 2007 12:40 ET

Statement by Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans: Minister Hearn Calls on NDP to Stop Playing Politics, Advance C-45 to Committee

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 1, 2007) - The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today called upon the NDP to end its irresponsible partisan posturing, and get to work on moving Bill C-45 forward in the democratic process.

Yesterday, three members of the NDP held a press conference, during which time they criticized our efforts to modernize the 138-year-old Fisheries Act. The old Act was one of Canada's first pieces of legislation, and was established to manage a fishery that existed without modern technology, and before the majority of our coastline was even a part of our country.

The NDP complained, criticized, and made snide remarks. What they did not do, however, was put forward any concrete counterproposals on how they would actually improve upon C-45.

In fact, the NDP went so far as to say that C-45 should be completely scrapped and replaced by a lengthy consultation process. Could this be because the NDP actually do not have any ideas on how to manage the fishery, and they want to stall the process while they develop positions?

I have been involved with the fishery my entire life, and I can tell the NDP that the fishing industry does not want a never-ending series of consultations. They want concrete action, and they want it now.

The people directly affected by the Act are calling upon government to move. The PEI Fishermen's Association, the Food, Fish and Allied Workers (FFAW) union in NL, and the First Nations represented by the Atlantic Policy Congress are just a few of the groups that have said that the Act needs to change, and they're voicing their support for many of the changes currently proposed before Parliament. Provincial and Territorial governments have been unanimous in their calls for an overhaul.

Will Peter Stoffer and the NDP ignore these publicly stated opinions, shut down the debate, and then go ask these groups what they think?

My Liberal and Bloc colleagues have at least adopted a much more constructive approach. Instead of partisan sniping and grandstanding, our initial discussions surrounding the Bill have been more focused on achieving results and making a positive contribution towards strengthening the Act.

I call upon Peter Stoffer and the NDP to stop playing press conference politics, and prove to Canadians that they actually have real ideas to improve the Fisheries Act. If they have any concrete ideas, then they should be ready to put them forward at the Committee stage.

Loyola Hearn

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Steve Outhouse
    Director of Communications
    613-992-3474