Over the years, starting in earnest with the Kemano Completion Project fight in 1993, I’ve been highly critical of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and its politicization by the Mulroney government of that day.
I was hit with a massive lawsuit by former Minister Tom Siddon which my insurers stupidly settled (I made that comment publicly immediately upon the news release). I had support from many former DFO scientists and I’m satisfied that my statements were accurate. When the KCP was approved in 1986 this was because the politicians told DFO to do as it was told.
Now we have proof of DFO working on behalf of salmon farmers via a document filed at the Cohen Commission. To be truthful, it makes me feel ill to read it and report on it. The only conclusion one can come to is that the DFO is a willing arm of the fish farm Industry.
It’s styled as a “BRIEFING NOTE FOR THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HABITAT MANAGEMENT”
MEETING WITH BC SALMON FARMERS ASSOCIATION REGARDING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE AND AQUACULTURE.
The meeting was for May 4, 2005 with Mary Ellen Walling of the BC Salmon Farmers' Association, David Rideout of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, the Deputy Minister and other senior DFO staff and – get this – the primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss the challenges facing the BC salmon farming industry with respect to public confidence in aquaculture practices, as well as in the government regulation of the industry. (You will note that none of the independent scientists who had raised concerns about fish farming were to be present. No Alexandra Morton...no Martin Kroksek...no John Volpe...no Neil Frazer...no Daniel Pauly...and on the list of absentees goes).
It goes on to say, "As lead federal department for aquaculture, DFO has explicitly committed to improving public confidence in aquaculture. To deliver on this commitment, the department has undertaken several initiatives to raise public confidence in the context of aquaculture."
Can you believe this?
The document is a screed of helpful hints for the director as he marches hand in hand with the fish farmers to bury the truth, to be replaced with fish farmer propaganda including such gems as “developing a long term proactive strategy for raising pubic confidence in aquaculture…targeting information for the general public, rather than trying to directly challenge the media campaigns being carried out by well funded ENGOs." It speaks of Regional Communications and Aquaculture Management Staff to “manage the file”.
Ponder that: a “Communications and Aquaculture Management staff”??? Would not “Fish Farmers' Propaganda Department” be synonymous? This is our DFO taking care of the public interest?
The fish farmers have corrupted the DFO, which in turn was more than willing to be corrupted.
Here’s a little gem for you:
“Indications from pacific region are that the recent meeting with Mary Ellen Walling [flack for the fish farmers - editor's note] was positive and industry seemed satisfied with the progress made at the meeting. The region committed to regular meetings with Mary Ellen Walling."
Can you believe this! Industry seemed satisfied!
Thank God for that! One trembles to think of the consequences if good old Mary Ellen had been dissatisfied!
Here is a link provided to this document and you can read it all for yourself.
I scarcely know where to start.
This is a huge vindication for people like Alexandra Morton who stood, unfunded, up to the bully. I can only imagine how she must feel seeing the despicable supposedly protector of our fish as corrupt as a Tammany Hall sort of City Hall. I don’t speak of monetary corruption. I’m reminded of the jingle:
“You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to.”
How the hell do these people sleep at night? What do they tell people what they do for a living? It surely would be easier in that regard to be the piano player in a house of ill repute.
Where have our politicians been? Where the hell has the mainstream media been? I’ve never been prouder of the fact that I was forced out because of my support for Alexandra Morton. To be in journalism and not report on this would be to accept dirty money.
Do not, for the love of God, let the provincial government off the hook. Until Ms. Morton’s lawsuit, the BC government was the leading shill.
The governments ought to be ashamed but so should backbenchers for not asking questions. There was no shortage of questions raised outside the house – they knew what I was saying all too well. Where the hell were they when to be a politician took a little guts?
The governmental process at both levels of senior government should hang their heads in shame and more fool us if we don’t throw them all out on their tender asses.