Home Canada News Federal NDP seeks emergency debate over mounting N.S. fishery dispute

Federal NDP seeks emergency debate over mounting N.S. fishery dispute

The federal NDP is calling for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on Monday after a dispute between commercial fishermen and Mi’kmaw fishers in southwest Nova Scotia turned increasingly violent last week. 

“I intend to seek leave at the appropriate time on Monday to propose an emergency debate on the escalating violence facing Indigenous fishers and fishing communities in Nova Scotia,” B.C. MP Gord Johns wrote in a Sunday letter to House Speaker Anthony Rota, who will decide whether the matter proceeds to a debate.

“Sadly, insufficient action has been taken by the federal government to ensure the safety of this community and its fishers, nor to deal with the underlying legal and constitutional issues which are its root cause.”

Commercial fishermen in Nova Scotia have been protesting a “moderate livelihood” fishery that was launched by Sipekne’katik First Nation last month.  The fishery is operating outside the federally mandated commercial season, causing many to worry about its impact on lobster conservation. 

But the Mi’kmaw say they are exercising their treaty right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing, a right affirmed by a 1999 Supreme Court ruling. The court later said Ottawa could regulate the Mi’kmaw fishery but must justify any restrictions it placed on it.

Successive federal governments have also failed to define what is meant by a “moderate livelihood.”

Johns said the situation had “escalated dramatically” since Parliament, which returns Monday, last met on Oct. 9. 

In that time, two lobster facilities in southwest Nova Scotia were targeted and vandalized by commercial fishermen. One of the facilities, located in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., was destroyed in a Saturday blaze RCMP have deemed suspicious. 

A Digby County, N.S., man has also been charged and arrested in relation to an assault on Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack.

Ottawa criticized from all sides

The federal government has faced criticism for its handling of the dispute from the Mi’kmaw community, commercial fishermen groups and other politicians. 

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has implored the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to clarify what constitutes legal harvesting under a moderate livelihood fishery.  

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole also laid blame on the department, criticizing Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan on Saturday for failing to include commercial harvesters in federal-level discussions.

Jordan told CBC News Thursday she is in negotiations with the Sipekne’katik First Nation and that her department speaks to commercial harvesters “on a regular basis”. 

Her office said that DFO is not approaching current negotiations with an intent to define “moderate livelihood” and that questions about clarifying the term are still to be discussed.

Indigenous Services Minister Mark Miller said Saturday that nation-to-nation conversations are taking place out of the public eye and added that talks with commercial fishermen will need to happen in a separate forum. 

WATCH | Federal fisheries minister responds to lobster facility raids:

Bernadette Jordan says there is no need for violence, and described what happened this week as “disgusting.” 6:29

Chief Sack, meanwhile, has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the RCMP to better protect the Mi’kmaw community as it faces increasing intimidation and find those responsible for the violence.

On Saturday, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair agreed to a request from Nova Scotia’s attorney-general to boost the RCMP’s presence in the region.

“While I believe some of the damage, destruction, racist behaviour, harassment and intimidation could have been addressed much earlier as we had repeatedly requested a greater police presence to protect our people and operations, we remain thankful for any and all support we receive,” Chief Sack said in response.

News Source

Federal NDP seeks emergency debate over mounting N.S. fishery dispute
Pen Pusher Hackette
Pen Pusher Hackette is a content media organization that focuses on creating the most authentic content available on the internet. Apart from just writing the content for internet consumers, the organization also focuses on inventing the right marketing tool to help businesses target their potential consumers. From Entertainment to the knowledge-based information, we cover all aspects to connect with the billions of internet consumers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

‘Amnesia: Rebirth’ Has Evolved Beyond Jump Scares

Amnesia: Rebirth is somewhere between the two. It’s got more story than The Dark Descent and asks big questions like SOMA. Unlike The Dark...

Trump shifts tone in second debate as candidates clash on health care and more

President Trump is planning two campaign rallies in Florida following his face-off with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on the debate stage Thursday night. CBS...

In-person voting restrictions lifted for most of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation

Most people in Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) communities will now be able to cast their vote in person on election day in Saskatchewan.PBCN...

5 Things To Know About The ’60 Minutes’ Star – Hollywood Life

After decades covering the White House, Lesley Stahl isn’t intimidated by Donald Trump. Before her explosive ’60 Minutes’ interview airs, here’s what you should...