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Broken, broken, broken…

From an article on the Tyee website:

On Feb. 21, 2014, Federal Judge Leonard Mandamin ruled in favour of the injunction, noting that DFO’s decision to reopen the areas at a total allowable catch of 10 per cent instead of 20 per cent was, in his view: “fudging the numbers.”

“It is not science-based, but in effect a statement ‘there is a conservation concern here, but if the fishery is to be opened, take less,’” he wrote, noting that the DFO’s approach was used to sidestep the conservation assessment.

“It seems to me once the minister and the DFO depart from science-based assessments the integrity of fisheries management system is harmed,” the judge wrote.

This relates to a decision by the Federal Minister of Fisheries to set an arbitrary total allowable catch for herring on the west coast of Vancouver Island – this despite the fact that the areas have been closed for herring fishing since 2006 due to serious herring population concerns in those areas.

From another article on the Tyee website referring to Minister Shea’s ‘political’ decision, over a ‘science-based’ decision.

This was revealed in an internal DFO document released yesterday during a court hearing of five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations’ injunction against DFO’s proposal to reopen the west coast of Vancouver Island to commercial herring roe fisheries in 2014.

In a memorandum addressed to the minister on Dec. 9 2013, DFO scientists recommend maintaining the closure of the areas around the west coast of Vancouver Island, the central coast and Haida Gwaii for the 2014 fishing season.

Despite the advice, [Minister] Shea announced on Dec. 23, 2013 that the three areas would be reopened to commercial herring roe fisheries at a harvest rate of 10 per cent in 2014

Any surprise that that announcement was made a mere few days before one of the biggest holiday times of the year? (hmmmm).

This set of DFO decisions coming in light of the absolute failure to institute any of the changes recommended by the $25 million Cohen Commission investigating Fraser River sockeye populations.

 

Enbridge, Canada, and “good-faith” negotiations… stop me if you’ve heard this story before…

Well, Joe O. we might have a problem in BC… says Steve-o…

In early December, Doug Eyford, the federally appointed “Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure” released his report: Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships: Aboriginal Canadians and Energy Development.

In the 7-8 months that it took for Eyford to pull the report together, he suggests he: “travelled across Alberta and British Columbia to meet representatives of Aboriginal communities and organizations, industry, and provincial and local governments.” And the he “met with over 80 groups.”

Three main themes are highlighted in his report: Building Trust, Fostering Inclusion, and Advancing Reconciliation. His final theme is “Taking Action”.

Oddly enough, this quote stands out near the beginning…

Eyford Report – Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships: Aboriginal Canadians & Energy Development

Several years ago, a good fifteen or more, Chief Justice Lamer said the words above. At that time, the vast majority of Treaties in British Columbia remained unsettled, which means that the Traditional Territories of Aboriginal people and communities in BC also remained unceded.

Since then, court challenge after court challenge mounted by Aboriginal groups and communities have worked their way through the Canadian court systems – several of them resulting in favorable decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada. Many of them stating a similar message… ‘get back to the negotiating table and figure this out’ and do it in ‘good faith’…

And, yet… one more lawyerly report to the Federal Government comes out stating the same thing again. “Build Trust” ‘build inclusion’ ‘reconcile’… ‘build trust’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘reconcile’… the ongoing legal mantra… not so much the ‘legislative’…

The response from former investment banker, and now Federal Minister of Natural Resources:

“The themes of the Eyford report — trust, inclusion, reconciliation and action — can guide all parties in building further the relationships that will underpin responsible resource development and the participation of Aboriginal Peoples,” said Minister Oliver. “We will now engage on the report with Aboriginal Peoples, as well as provinces and industry, and identify the most promising avenues for meaningful follow up.”

Sounds ‘promising’…

I can take a wild stab at this… after some 150 years of history… the most ‘promising avenues’ in the relationship between the Federal government and Aboriginal communities, will not include “trust, inclusion, reconciliation, and action”…

They were not very ‘promising’ ten years ago, twenty years ago, and so on… why would they be now?

Plus, now there’s a problem… Eyford’s report suggests, in one of his first recommendations, in the “Building Trust” section:

The sub-title for this section is: “Constructive Dialogue on Energy”

Shouldn’t that have maybe happened before Enbridge proposed the Northern Gateway pipeline? And maybe before anywhere between four to six natural gas pipelines were put on the book in BC, and then Kinder Morgan proposed to twin their oil pipeline to Vancouver…?

Well, this is actually one Eyford’s recommendations a little later on in the “Advancing Reconciliation” section…

page 37

I am wondering though… who’s going to pay for these “conferences, workshops, and community forums”? Are the feds going to pay for isolated communities to get community members to these? What about communication barriers, English literacy challenges…? What sort of timelines?

Whoa… I guess these might be too logical to be asking…? (too complex, too difficult…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Eyford’s report also enters the sticky, complex realm of “Cumulative Impacts”:

page 14

Eyford highlights a quote from a recent court case in B.C.:

He fronts another recommendation:

page 15

This after suggesting:

page 14

So where do we start assessing the ‘accumulation’ of ‘cumulative’… 2005, 1990, 1950, 1900, 1867…1763 (the year of the Royal Proclamation)?

And how is ‘Canada’ (e.g. the Feds) going to undertake this in light that BC is responsible for ‘negotiating’ the Treaties, or other government-to-government agreements? (Bit of a sticky one here…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The final recommendation out of Eyford’s report is a ‘capper’…

page 44

I’m going to keep posted for when that starts for Conservative/Reform MPs, including Joe Oliver.

The combination of the two reports – Eyford’s on ‘Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships’ and the Joint Review Panel’s report on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline – create some interesting and curious issues to be watched closely as this all moves along. However, the cynic in me tends to jump on this suggesting I know where these recommendations from Eyford will go… good old responsible, sustainable recycle bin in the PMO. [Prime Minister's Office].

How’s the old jingle go…?

‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’

Stay posted… however, I smell timelines similar to the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline… what were those? Well, proposed sometime in the 1970s, still not built, and now basically obsolete…

“Disconnections” — contradictions in JRP report on Northern Gateway?

 

This week, the Joint Review Panel (on behalf of National Energy Board and Environment Canada) released its much ballyhooed report with its recommendation to the Federal Government to approve construction of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to the BC northwest coast.

Over the last few days, the media and political pundits are carrying on. Unfortunately on some websites such as the National Post one can read no shortage of editorial comment on how great the recommendations are and how the “eco-jihadists” will need to climb back into their caves. Not all that fascinating fodder…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

In an initial read through the JRP’s report I was struck by some interestings contradictions… of which I will try to follow up with in future posts…

The first volume of the report begins:

“This volume of our report, Connections, is about connections and linkages across time and place, on land and sea, between the economy and the environment, and among people, resources, cultures, wellbeing, safety, and way of life. It explains how we reached the conclusions and recommendations that are detailed in our second volume, Considerations.

Some people said economic development like the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project could harm society and the environment, while others told us a strong economy was necessary to sustain and enhance environmental and social values. They all recognized the linkages among people, economy, and environment, and that these are all aspects of a shared ecosystem.

Our task was to recognize these connections. We weighed and balanced them to answer the fundamental question: Would Canada and Canadians be better off or worse off if the project goes ahead?

My emphasis on the last bit.

As a general observation of the ‘look and feel’ of the document… lots of green colors, soft rounded font, decently laid out.

Just look at this lovely cover:

Splattered throughout the report are all sorts of lovely ‘enviro’ images… bears, eagles, coastlines, caribou, whales… lovely stuff.