Monthly Archives: February 2012

The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… Politicians of Canada: time to get a frigging grip.

Somehow… magically… today… a deadline disappeared.

For some miraculous reason, the deadline for feedback to DFO on their new “suite of policies” was changed from today Feb. 29 to March 14, 2012.

I’m guessing that people and organizations that may have actually waded through the paper maze, were super-impressed to see the deadline magically change sometime today. Nothing like extending for two weeks midway through the deadline day…

But wait, Conservative Minister Ashfield has a press release that just went out today.

The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced today that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will extend the period of online consultation on modernizing Canada’s fisheries until March 14, 2012.  The period of consultation will be extended to encourage further collaboration and to ensure that voices of fish harvesters are heard.

Hmmmm. If you didn’t read the last post on this matter, have a gander here:

The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… called into question. (And DFO gets another new name.)

Wondering why maybe the extension…

new name...

Minister Ashfield says:

“Over the past several months, I have had extensive meetings with Canada’s fishing sector and I hear consistently that the system needs to change,” noted Minister Ashfield. “Fishermen want our management system to reflect their business needs.  Our role in government is to ensure sustainability of the resource and create a healthy business environment and that is what we intend to achieve.”

I bet you do… I bet you do… and I don’t imagine the lobby power of some Canadian business folks that have substantial commercial fishing interests, has had any impact on these current ‘initiatives’…?

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Latest Department of Fisheries and Oceans brainwave…?

A plan… that isn’t… actually… well… “A PLAN.”

See… a “plan” is generally defined as “a method for achieving an end.”

The online Merriam Webster Dictionary define it in a few different ways:

2. a: a method for achieving an end.
    b: an often customary method of doing something : procedure.
    c: a detailed formulation of a program of action.
    d: goal, aim.
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3. : an orderly arrangement of parts of an overall design or objective.

The Online Dictionary has a helpful definition:

a specific project or definite purpose: plans for the future.

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Well, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans apparently has a new approach: “a fresh approach.”

This from their website and fancy, glossy new document regarding the ”future of Canada’s commercial fisheries” :

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An ‘IFMP’ is an “Integrated Fisheries Management Plan”.

On the DFO website, they explain the purpose of these ‘plans’:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) uses Integrated Fisheries Management Plans (IFMPs) to guide the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. An IFMP is developed to manage the fishery of a particular species in a given region. IFMPs combine the best available science on a species with industry data on capacity and methods for harvesting that species.

So… I’m curious then, how business goals of “efficiency, consistency, and predictability” fit with the #1 mandate of the Department which is “conservation”?

Also wondering how ‘consistency’ and ‘predictability’ are going to work out in an industry that relies upon nature to produce its bounty?

Last time I checked, wild salmon returns weren’t all that ‘predictable’… hence why $20 million judicial inquiries and public reviews….

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I’m also a little curious, from the snippet above,  what definition of “evergreen” DFO is going by…?

I’m guessing it’s not the definition which suggests a tree that keeps its foliage…

So it must be referring to that other use of the word:

3. Something that remains perennially fresh, interesting, or well liked.

Hmmm. Maybe the editors of this fancy, glossy document might have a think about that term… especially in relation to documents (a.k.a. plans) that generally reach several hundred pages every year…

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However, in the spirit of a “fresh approach” at one of the most outdated federal ministries going, let’s look a little further inside…

… in this “fresh approach” it appears, though, that these ‘suite of documents’ will no longer really be a “plan”.

As… ummmm…. if a ‘plan’ does not have a specific end date, is it a “plan”?

Does it have an objective?

Is it measurable… and who’s measuring?

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It would seem that a ‘plan’ with no specific end date would certainly not fit into Merriam Dictionary definition 2. a as it has no end date and thus no specific end…

Doesn’t fit 2. b because after much reading and perusing, I still haven’t found anything that clearly lays out a “method of doing something.” There’s a lot of theorizing about what might be done, but show me something actually tangible and open for comment. Like…maybe…

a plan.

Doesn’t fit 2. c because there really isn’t any real formulated ‘plan of action’ — just a whole lot of theorizing about what “may” be done. (more on that in the near future).

Doesn’t fit 2. d because there is no actual “goal” — it’s a whole lot of “aspirational” — just as PM Harper recently commented on aboriginal efforts in Canada to change education systems.

Definitely not 3., as, inasmuch as there is a whole slew of documents and PowerPoint slides and PDF files, and nice little diagrams about how it all fits together – just so

There really is, however, so little substance or anything actually tangible.

You know… like a “PLAN”.

Or as the Free Online dictionary suggests “a specific project”…

This whole shenanigan is largely a paper shuffling exercise of the n-th degree. Paper shuffling ‘Pi r squared.’ (apologies to the bureacrats that have probably dedicated the last 2-3 years, hands on keyboard, typing up this slop, and meeting, and typing, and preparing PowerPoint slides, and meeting, and typing…and… and)

And, just as Minister Ashfield suggests, “Fishermen want our management system to reflect their business needs”…

Yes, I’m sure they do… however, there’s also this great slew of Canadians that also want fisheries resources — like wild salmon — to simply meet their needs, desires, spiritual beliefs, and simple comfort of knowing they are still there cycling through their millions of years old cycle, and feeding everything that they touch.

Upstream, downstream. Coast, Ocean. North Pacific Gyre. Coast, upstream, downstream…

(rinse and repeat…)

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Who’s responsible for this mess?

Producing hundreds upon hundreds of pages of documents and then labeling them nice boutique-y names like a “suite of policies” — does not a plan make…

Last thought… of which future posts will delve into…

At the moment, research and statistics suggest that just under 50% of Canadians do not have the literacy required to meet day-to-day life demands.

This means, 50% of Canadians have literacy levels below the International Adult Literacy rate survey rating of Level 3 — which is approximately the level that someone graduating from high school reads at.

Yet, Minister Ashfield carries on about:

It is estimated that 80,000 Canadians make their living or a portion of their living directly from fishing and fishing-related activities. But current practices and regulations, along with a challenging global market, are increasingly restricting the ability of Canada’s fisheries to contribute to Canadian prosperity in a changing economic climate.

Well… if close to 40,000 of those Canadians do not possess the literacy skills required to meet day-to-day demands of life — then how the hell are they going to wade through the hundreds and hundreds of pages, PowerPoint slides, pathetic YouTube videos of PowerPoint slides, and webpages to adequately “comment” and be adequately “consulted” on an issue that affects Canadians from coast to coast to coast?

Politicians of Canada — time to get a grip.

 

Remember these guys? Joe and ‘Con’ at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) — “waging their war”?

CFIA -- food safety... or marketing wars?

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Remember these guys from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) testifying at the Cohen Commission into Fraser River Sockeye Declines in Dec. 2011?

As asked in the initial post on this matter:

If the Canadian Food Inspection Agency top staff and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (and the BC Government) think that it’s about headlines and winning PR wars… what does that say about the safety of our food in Canada?

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SALMONGATE: ‘Joe’ at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says: “It is clear that we are turning the PR tide to our favour… and we will win the war, also.”

Joseph Beres is the BC Manager of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Cornelius (Con) Kiley is the “Acting Director” of Aquatic Animal Health within the entire Agency.

Both of these individuals, as commented on the first post in this matter (Dec. 2011, click highlighted text above to read that post), are most likely in the high $100,000/year, close to $200,000 per year, salary range… and pensions that will last them just fine.

Let’s just say they probably aren’t too concerned about Harper’s most recent threats to the Old Age Security (OAS) program…

One can guess, that there was little repercussions from the above email being released as evidence within the Cohen Commission hearings…?

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So there’s more being added to this story now…

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The “Surveillance Piece” as mentioned to ‘Con’ by ‘Joe’ in the email above… is now making the rounds for “consultation”… yet oddly enough, even though comments are due by some groups by March 16, 2011 — I can’t seem to find any documents related to it on the website… (update: found the Executive Summary on their website- you have to email CFIA for the full document)

One draft version is circulating by email, however, and here it is here (if anyone has the least amount of interest).

Surveillance_proposal_for_BC_Executive_Summary

CFIA Salmonids Surveillance in BC February 2012 (full Draft document)

(Update: short article here: Testing of 5,000 wild salmon proposed by CFIA)

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Here’s the curious piece though…

trustworthy "surveillance" team?

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So let me recap…

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, with emails circulating like the one above suggesting this is a Public Relations – PR game (not an actual wild ecosystem and public health issue)… and…

the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (or Dept. of Fisheries and Profits), which had to be taken to the Supreme Court to demonstrate that they were completely and entirely wrong in delegating authority of salmon farming to the Province of B.C. –

that they in fact went against the Canadian Constitution and the divisions of Powers in Canada (between feds and Provinces)… and…

is the same government Ministry that has given hundred of millions of $$ to the salmon farming industry for “research & development & marketing” (and so on)… and…

actually has the delegated federal responsibility to safeguard and conserve wild salmon FIRST….

…AND…

the Province of BC, which has also invested millions upon millions of dollars into the salmon farming industry on the BC coast, and potentially was ‘on watch’ when diseases starting breaking out in BC salmon farms (as reported at the Cohen Commission by scientists in December… wouldn’t want to end up in a defamation lawuit filed by a salmon farming company),

…not to mention, massive amounts of Atlantic salmon escapees all along the BC south coast areas (whoops, guess I did “mention it”)… and…

wait for it….and…

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INDUSTRY…(??!!)

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are going to “implement a surveillance initiative in British Columbia for infectious salmon anemia (ISA)…”

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Well, hold my horses… that sounds like a crack team of Navy Blue Seals…

This plans sounds more waterproof then the latest Bounty paper towel… or my 2-year old’s new underwear…

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One…

where the hell was this “surveillance” plan twenty years ago or more when the salmon farming industry first started setting up shop on the BC coast?

It’s not like the issue of open-pen salmon farms and domesticating animals disease break-out on coasts that still had wild salmon runs — was a new issue… (for crying out loud). (let alone the issue of domesticating any animals and resulting disease outbreaks…)

Go talk to Norway… ask them what they had to do in their rivers…

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Two…

How the *#^* does this ‘plan’:

…provide support to the protection of our aquatic resources”…? [last sentence in clip above]

Isn’t this like saying that the evidence provided at a murder trial will bring the murdered victim back to life…?

Or… will protect the next potential victim…?

How’s this working when it comes to gun violence?

Faulty logic, CFIA folks… faulty logic…

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Let’s look at the sentence before it for a bit more of a clue…

The objective of this surveillance initiative is to ‘complement existing disease surveillance activities…’

OK great, so your first objective is to complement existing activities…?

That’s comforting…

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… by determining the status of three viruses in anadromous salmonid populations of concern in B.C.

First question: what is an anadromous salmonid of concern in B.C.?

all of them?

some of them?

one of them?

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“The evidence put forward… will provide support to the protection of our aquatic resources…”

How?

Specifically…?

Oh wait…

let’s read the last three words of this first paragraph…

“…and to trade.”

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That’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about “trade”

and we’re talking about “marketing.”… and we’re talking about PR wars…

The rest about: ‘protecting aquatic resources‘ is just plain old…

BULLSHIT.

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bullshit of the worst kind…. Bumpf-filled bullshit.

It looks like words on paper, but if you smell real careful-like… you can get a good strong whiff…

Drivel-filled bullshit.

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Last time I checked, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency didn’t have it too high up in the mandate to “protect aquatic resources.”

This is a PR exercise.

Protect our trade. Comfort our trade partners.

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Last paragraph of Exec Summary:

in other words: if disease breaks out, there's nothing we can do...

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… we will notify our trade partners… notify trade partners… do our due diligence on notification…

(and do a cull program of farmed salmon in open-pen cages…during actual disease outbreaks)

but…

there is absolutely *^@-all we can do for the wild fish or wild ecosystems…

This is government-bumpf, kill-you-with-bureaucratic-bullets in PowerPoint drivel.

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Where was any type of program like this over the last 20 years when Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was being reported by respected scientists?

Where was this 10 years ago, five…?

Why now?

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Hmmmmm. maybe because it came up at the Cohen Commission?

Because, emails like the one above got out?

Do you actually think there’s credibility left in any of the organizations that make up this little “surveillance team”?

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If you want to feel any warmer and fuzzier, there’s an actual: “Aquatic Animal Health Committee” at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; they would have been key in drafting this drivel…:

Input into the development of the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) [incredibly fitting acronym if you pronounce it phonetically] is managed through the Aquatic Animal Health Committee (AAHC).

This Committee includes provincial and territorial authorities for aquaculture and wild fisheries resource management, veterinary association representatives, Aboriginal groups and wild and farmed industry stakeholders.

Oh ghad… i can hear the bureaucratic layers building…

And…there is an “invited membership” list:

Invited Committee Membership

  • DFO Science
  • CFIA Operations
  • DFO Fisheries and Aquaculture Management; DFO Oceans
  • Provincial and Territorial governments
  • National Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis Organisations
  • The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA)
  • The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC)
  • Recreational aquatic resource organisations (anglers; baitfish)
  • Ornamental and educational display aquatic resource users
  • Research and Academic interests
  • Commercial harvest fisheries representatives
  • Seafood processing industries
  • The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and associated regional representatives.

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Curious who the Fisheries Council of Canada is?

I was. From their website:

Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) is the voice of Canada’s fish and seafood industry, promoting a healthy resource and working to develop an economically sound, market-driven, competitively-structured industry that offers harvesters, employees, and processors secure and stable opportunities and a sustainable future.

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And the “Terms of Reference” of the CFIA Committee?

Terms of Reference

The National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) is a federal program, co-delivered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) under the legislative authority of the Health of Animals Act.

The NAAHP is designed to meet international aquatic animal health management standards that protect Canadian aquatic resources (wild and farmed) from serious aquatic animal diseases and maintain competitive international market access.

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“Protect” the “aquatic resources”…

HOW?

Truly… someone please tell me how…

monitoring programs only tell you: “shoot, we have a disease problem…” They don’t: protect from them in the first place — because to do that would mean… no open-pen fish farms on the BC coast…

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Protect competitive international market access‘ is a lot more like it. International markets don’t like disease outbreaks of any kind…

Unfortunately, “death-by-bureaucratese-bullets” and “protect-your-civil-service-butt” is not yet a recognized international food-chain disease…

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Just read the “Rationale” for this organization, to pick up the true purpose… (they let it slip a bit here…):

Rationale

The National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) is a science-based regulatory program for aquatic animal diseases that have been designated reportable or notifiable because of their impact on Canada’s trade, economies and environment.

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“Whooop, there it is…!”

Isn’t that how that song goes?

“impact on trade and economies”… that’s what we’re talking about…. PR, marketing, trade, and economies.

Wild salmon…?

nah…. they’re screwed anyways

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the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is only interested in wild salmon… when they’re dead, marinated, broiled, and almost on your restaurant plate…

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You know, JOE… (and Con)…. you’re probably right… just “nail this surveillance piece” and you probably will win the war…

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It’s just sad to think that the CFIA waged “a war” on wild salmon in the first place… (along with DFO, the Province of BC, and industry groups…)

Now, I’m going to have a NAAHP… (I sort of did while reading the 50-page Draft drivel-filled document).

We are in a pretty sad state of affairs… more to come on government ‘consultation’…

The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… called into question. (And DFO gets another new name.)

New name at DFO: "Department of Fisheries and Profits"

A new name has yet again been adopted by the ‘Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ in Canada.

It will now be called the: “Department of Fisheries and Profits”. 

Cutely referred to in Ottawa (about as far from Canada’s fishing industries as one can get) as DFP.

new name...

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The image above is from a recently released ‘discussion paper’. From what Google suggests, this document was posted in mid-January 2012, quite quietly apparently. Some groups, such as First Nations in BC just had it sent to them in the last few days.

The deadline for comment on this paper — which doesn’t actually really have anything of substance to “comment” on is Feb. 29th (less than a week from now).

As PM Harper likes to say… this is an “aspirational” document.

With next to no substance. In other words… salmonguy words… this is a bunch of fluff, bumpf and BS.

It’s also a schizophrenic document that contradicts itself at several points — however, the one thing that it makes abundantly clear: Canada’s fish populations are for economic prosperity first.

The sustainability section comes up on page 18 of 28… just after the “Prosperity” section.

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One of the odd things about this “aspirational” document, is that it comes out while Justice Cohen is still buried in his (and his team’s) work in producing a report on the $20+ million Cohen Commission into Fraser River sockeye declines.

This is the same Commission that essentially forced DFO to shut down in the Pacific Region and dedicate itself to defending and justifying itself and it’s actions since the last five or so Fraser River sockeye commissions, reviews and so on….

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Let’s take a quick tour inside of DFP’s latest: “aspirational document”:

Isn’t this just the cutest thing…?

so cute...

Rather than using the old business term “bottom line”, the clever writers and designers of this fancy document used “the top line” — so many double meanings & entendres…

They’re so cute there at DFO (like Harper and his scratching the $10 million panda bear in China).

But let’s get right to it.

This comes early in the document… and here we have it as highlighted above:

…create a business environment conducive to economic prosperity

So let’s not shy away here. Let’s just get right to it.

Canada’s Department of Fisheries & that Other stuff. (DFO) is very much now about ‘maximizing profits‘, ‘economic prosperity‘ and ‘good business environments’.

Good thing.

Especially when Canada is also ranked 125th out of 127 Nations in fisheries conservation — as reported in a recent Royal Society of Canada report.

(see: Canada is pathetically ranked 125th of 127 countries in fisheries conservation… )

And not to mention those other pesky fisheries stats from around the world (let’s just say they aren’t really a positive, feel-good type thing):

Oceans’ Fish Could Disappear by 2050: Without fundamental restructuring of the fishing industry, our oceans could essentially become barren deserts.

THE GIST

  • Fishless oceans could be a very real possibility by 2050.

  • According to the UN, 30 percent of fish stocks have already collapsed.

  • One billion people, mostly from poorer countries, rely on fish as their main animal protein source.”

“If the various estimates we have received… come true, then we are in the situation where 40 years down the line we, effectively, are out of fish,” Pavan Sukhdev, head of the UN Environment Program’s green economy initiative, told journalists in New York.

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So, yeah… let’s get Canada’s fisheries harvesters: “to self-adjust”, as suggested in image quote above:

what does "self adjust" mean?

Ummm, DFO… errrr… DFP… what exactly does “self adjust” mean?

Does that mean when estimates suggest population is down, then fishers should stop harvesting?

Or… does it mean, if market says: “we need more fish!” that we just keep harvesting?

Which takes priority — resource fluctuations, or market demands?

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Curiously, the online free dictionary offers this definition:

Self-adjusting: Capable of assuming a desired position or condition with relation to other parts, under varying circumstances, without requiring to be adjusted by hand.

Hmmm.

Now this definition refers to machines and such, but it’s decent one to run with here — since DFO provides no definition of what this actually means.

If you’ve read older posts on this site, or simply look up the etymology of “manage” or “management” it comes from Latin “manus” which means hand, and maneggiare “to handle,” especially in relation to horses.

(or… I suppose, in this case, fish harvesters…)

So, management, has to do with handling others (such as horses, or people fishing, or through other regulations). Or… should we also be thinking about the good old Adam Smiths’:  “invisible hand of the market” — which refers to ‘self regulation’…

As some online definitions suggest:  Smith’s invisible hand refers to an “important claim that by trying to maximize their own gains in a free market, individual ambition benefits society, even if the ambitious have no benevolent intentions.”

Hmmm. Sounds like the history of fish harvesting on the planet.

I don’t think people fishing for a living, or simply fishing for food for their family have “no benevolent intentions”… many may actually be very conservation-minded (I know several). However, it’s simply a numbers game. We have taken far, far, far too many fish over the last century and more, and in the meantime nuked fish habitat.

See along with dancing Adam Smith and his invisible hand is dour Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons.”

Doesn’t “self regulation” and “tragedy of the commons” kind of go hand-in-hand… you know… like do-si-do (prounounced doe-see-doe) your partner in square dancing…?

Nothing like: ‘Self-regulating your own tragedy

…which we will all have in common,

as will our grandkids….

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Bottom line on the “top line” folks, when it comes to the future of Canada’s fisheries:

Prosperity... folks... prosperity

This is page 14 (of 28) so right in the middle of the document.

But read carefully: essentially, and I paraphrase. There are “restrictive licensing rules” and economic prosperity is limited…

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Similar to this thought, comes from Page 7 of the document:

"management needs to change"

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You know, I couldn’t agree more with the “patchwork manner”.

The 'mystical', mystery, "Wild Salmon Policy"

I’ve shared this image far-and-wide.

I was involved in early consultations on DFO’s… errrr… DFP’s “Wild Salmon Policy” in the late 1990s when it first started as an “aspirational” document.

And… well… we’re still “aspiring”…

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And so continuing on…

The document above suggests:

“decision are often made ad hoc instead of in a structured, strategic way…”

and, apparently: we’re having trouble “maximizing economic benefits” for the fishing industry.

Hmmm. I don’t imagine overfishing and mis-guided policy drivers such as “maximum sustainable yield” over the last century have anything to do with our fisheries issues these days…?

OH, BUT WAIT…

Here it is… don’t worry… I found it at the back of the document:

"Sustainability" the biggest, mean nothing word of the new millenium...

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… DFP (formerly DFO) is going to be “supporting sustainable fisheries”…

It’s just on page 18 after the section on “PROSPERITY”…

You know… prosperity now… sustainability later…

Here are the words of wisdom on: “Sustainability”:

 

"Sustainability"... the great fluff word of the 21st century

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Look it says it, right up there…

sustainability is a top priority“… there’s great things like “precautionary approach” and “ecosystem mangement”…

(All of which simply exist to maximize those “threatened POTENTIAL economic gains”…)

only problem… just like the document says… “DFO has developed and begun implementing”…

If we’re just beginning, only just “begun”… then we might have a problem…

However, no worries mate, we now have “established a solid foundation for sustainable harvesting moving forward”…

BUT…

didn’t you just state earlier in the document that “fisheries management needs to change”…?

That fisheries decisions are made ad hoc, non-strategically, and non-structured…?

That the industry is inhibited?

That profit is not maximized?

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So who was responsible for that?

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Oh wait… the same ministry that wrote this document…

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How is it that Canadians, and the international community (of which Canada is signatory to agreements), are supposed to trust a Ministry that blatantly contradicts itself in its own “aspirational” documents?

This is rather ludicrous…

The document contradicts itself, this ministry continues to contradict itself.

This federal Ministry is a:

CONTRADICTION

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It’s also completely SCHIZOPHRENIC (and no offense intended to those suffering from this mental illness).

This type of document describes things as if it wasn’t actually THIS Department of Fisheries and Oceans that is responsible for how things used to be done.

ACT I:

(DFO says: “no, not us”)

ACT II:

It was a different DEPARTMENT… it was THAT department over there…

(“them… yup… them over there”…)

(said as they point in the mirror)

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Last time I checked, many of the same people I dealt with in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans ten years ago… are still the same people in the organization… just that they’ve been promoted…

The simple, “stick around long enough, we’ll promote you” policies of government ministries (apologies to those senior gov. managers that do not succumb to the Peter Principle…)

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OH… wait… just wait…

you can go comment on this ‘aspirational’ document at the DFO website.

Yes, you too, can participate in this shenanigan called “public consultation”…

They’ve helped you out, they ask you to comment on the following questions, and I quote directly from the site (and these are the only questions that are asked online — isn’t it great this whole digital public consultation thing… they’re so helpful…):

DFO would like your input on the current web of rules that governs how commercial fisheries are managed.   

Section #1 – Economic Prosperity

DFO would like your input on the current web of rules that governs how commercial fisheries are managed.  

  • Are there any rules you would consider obsolete given today’s economy and current management approaches?

Section #2 – Sustainable Fisheries

Canadian commercial fisheries have gained considerable experience in managing bycatch and discards over the years.

  • Does the proposed Policy Framework on Managing Bycatch and Discards provide adequate guidance on how to address bycatch and discards in Canadian fisheries?

 

[sorry, we just slipped that little "web of rules" comment in there... that's not misleading in the least... not even subliminal hints for one second...]

[cuz no one likes being caught in a "web of rules" do they?... this isn't leading the witness in the least... says the judge]

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There’s little boxes for you to fill in… (so helpful).

Apparently, the sustainability of Canada’s fisheries only deal with “bycatch”…

Wow, please, someone recommend a gutting of this ministry.

You simply cannot be a “Department of Fisheries” and yet be responsible for conservation and preservation of actual fish populations.

It’s a contradiction in terms. Killing fish is not ‘conserving’ them, nor ‘preserving’ them.

Not that killing fish is bad, I like to eat them too, but I’d like me kids to be able to eat them too…

It’s just propaganda like this is fundamentally exhausting.

Still doubting that ‘marketing is everything and everything is marketing…’?

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When scientists should stick a lid on it… somebody find a ‘muzzle’…?

from Kamil Frankowicz -- titled: "Illiteracy keyboard."

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The image above seems very fitting for the following Globe and Mail article — an article on an ‘issue’ that was also picked up by news media all over the globe yesterday:

Coal, not oil sands, the true climate change bad guy, analysis shows

One of the world’s top climate scientists has calculated that emissions from Alberta’s oil sands are unlikely to make a big difference to global warming and that the real threat to the planet comes from burning coal.

“I was surprised by the results of our analysis,” said Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria climate modeller, who has been a lead author on two reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “I thought it was larger than it was.”

In a commentary published Sunday in the prestigious journal Nature, Weaver and colleague Neil Swart analyze how burning all global stocks of coal, oil and natural gas would affect temperatures. Their analysis breaks out unconventional gas, such as undersea methane hydrates and shale gas produced by fracking, as well as unconventional oil sources including the oil sands.

They found that if all the hydrocarbons in the oil sands were mined and consumed, the carbon dioxide released would raise global temperatures by about 0.36 degrees C. That’s about half the total amount of warming over the last century.

When only commercially viable oil sands deposits are considered, the temperature increase is only .03 degrees C.

Ummm, doctor lads, thanks for the “modeling”… and number crunching… but what about the cumulative impact of burning all that shit at the same time…?

What are the impacts of having coal emission, gas emissions, and oil emissions all happening at the same time?

And, ummmm, what about the fact that certain models suggest that even if we stopped burning every fossil fuel right now — that the climate would continue to warm for decades, if not the next century?

(apparently Dr. Weaver doesn’t buy that argument either… cuz numbers don’t lie…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Canada’s oil sands: Not so dirty after all

…research showing that on a global scale, oil-sands emissions are not the dark-shirted villain some have made them out to be. That research, published in the journal Nature and co-authored by one of Canada’s most respected climate scientists, throws a wrench into the debate over an energy source whose reputed “dirtiness” has sparked fiery debate around the world.

The research, by University of Victoria scientists Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart, calculates the climate impact of producing the oil sands. Dr. Weaver is an internationally respected scientist who has contributed to United Nations climate-change documents. He and Dr. Swart completed several analyses.

The most important examined the impact of producing the roughly 170 billion barrels of oil-sands crude that the industry currently considers economic to produce. If it’s all hauled out of the ground – a process that will take more than a century, even at the forecast 2020 rate of three million barrels a day – the cumulative global-warming impact is 0.02 to 0.05 degrees Celsius, according to the research.

By comparison, burning all of the world’s enormous coal resources would raise temperatures 15 degrees, while consuming the new global bounty of shale gas would produce a lift of just under 3 degrees. (Using up economically accessible reserves of natural gas and coal will raise temperatures 0.16 and 0.9 degrees, respectively.)

[ummm, Dr. Weaver, doesn't the process of extracting the oil bitumen from the tar sands take enormous amounts of natural gas? Oh right, forgot about that part...]

Thankfully the CBC running of an article on this issue captures that point:

Climate expert says coal not oilsands real threat

Weaver’s analysis only accounts for emissions from burning the fuel. It doesn’t count greenhouse gases released by producing the resource because that would double-count those emissions.

He said his paper is an attempt to bring some perspective to the often-fraught debate over oilsands development, which continues to cause major concerns about the impact on land, air and water. And emissions from producing oilsands crude are making it very tough for Canada to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“We’ve heard a lot about how if we burn all the oil in the tarsands it’s going to lead to this, that and the other. We thought, ‘Well, let’s take a look at this. What is the warming potential of this area?’ and the numbers are what they are.”

Hmmm, I wonder how many old-time scientists are rolling in their graves?

The numbers “are what they are” Dr. Weaver?

Come on… it’s not like “numbers” are some naturally produced phenomenon, of which we humans have absolutely no control  (like climate, for example).

No, Dr. Weaver, numbers are something that are produced by humans [now through computer programming] for human interpretation and consumption — something of which is often misinterpreted, or skewed, or not considered, or (add in other problem here).

[of course not captured in all of this hoopla is that 'small' little issue of cancerous-tumour filled fish that live downstream of tar sands operations, significantly increased levels of cancer in the human communities, the legacy of these tar sands operations living on for a long, long, long time -- long past the time that all the economic benefits have been forgotten in some bail-out package]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Globe article:

Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said it is “important” that analyses like Dr. Weaver’s are being done, since it might help calm “the inflamed rhetoric from the other side.”

Uh, yeah, duh…

That’s what happens when folks start spewing out ‘research’ and ‘numbers’ in “prestigious academic journals” suggesting that: “look the numbers don’t lie”

Hmmm. Wasn’t that the same argument fronted by the Enron cronies…?

No, folks, numbers can dance to any music we put to them.

And those apparently uncontrollable “numbers” become all the more ‘fraught’ when we accompany them with typed up commentary… and hence the illustration above.

Some folks should maybe simply be sent a keyboard that looks similar to the one above…

The discussion of climate change, tar sands development, coal mining, and the like — should be “often-fraught”… that is “fraught” which means:

1. Filled with a specified element or elements; charged.

2. Marked by or causing distress; emotional.

Curiously enough… the roots of the word ‘fraught’ suggest it is very close to “freight”, and comes from a similar place fraght “cargo, lading of a ship” (early 13c.)

And, ghad knows, the tar sands industry (and the current fed gov. that supports it) will be loading their ships with this cargo of: “oh look, the tar sands are benign… look at Dr. Weaver’s numbers… they don’t lie.”

.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I love this line the most… it’s used in several of the articles:

Governments around the world have agreed to try to keep warming to two degrees.

WELL… THANK GOODNESS for that!!

The Governments have agreed” to keep warming to two degrees.

Well, hallelujah, kumbaya… i was actually starting to worry here… but the governments have agreed, so there is nothing to worry about… (just keep those silly emotions out of things people… they just cause “fraught” and emotion…)

Just wondering when “the governments” got that 1-800 direct line to the GREAT GUIDING FORCE, aka ghad for some, to make sure she/he keeps the warming below two degrees?

What a farce. This is scientific bumpf at its finest.

Just like the ‘scientists’ that continue to insist that we can “manage” wild salmon. Or the ‘scientist’- economists that figure we can manipulate the growing bubble of debt around the globe to make sure the “have’s” of the world stay in their little bubble…

Maybe someone could go ask folks living in the Arctic nations of the world how they feel about: “the governments agreeing to keep warming to only two degrees”?

Or the 80%, or so, of the planet’s population that lives in that tiny ribbon of land bordering the world’s oceans called: THE COAST. “Just two degrees” will probably only have a ‘minor’ impact…

[the world's  insurance industry sure as hell doesn't think so.. they're in an epic panic "fraught" with emotion]

 

“Wild Salmon Are Not Holding Up, Study Finds” – New York Times

Really… is this type of result all that surprising?

NY Times photo from article

Wild Salmon Are Not Holding Up, Study Finds

Since 1964, the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery in California has supplied the watershed with four to 10 million juvenile Chinook salmon each year. The hatchery began the practice as a way of countering the effects of dams that block migration and making sure that the salmon population remained viable. But recent research shows that the massive influx of hatchery-raised fish is masking the fact that wild fish populations are not holding up.

“Without distinguishing hatchery from wild fish, the perception is that we have healthy salmon surviving in a healthy river,” said Rachel Johnson, a fish ecologist affiliated with the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the lead author of a new paper published in the journal PLoS One.

[this is a problem across western North America where wild Pacific salmon roam]

Most hatchery-raised fish are unmarked, but Dr. Johnson and her colleagues navigated past this obstacle by using a new technique that measures sulfur isotopes deposited in salmon ear bones, or otoliths. Chemical elements from food and the environment accumulate in otoliths over a salmon’s lifetime, giving scientists a way of determining an animal’s origins and movements.

In this case, Dr. Johnson differentiated between wild and hatchery-reared salmon by detecting traces of a domestic diet in the latter population’s otoliths. After adult fall-run Chinook salmon returned to the river and hatchery to spawn, the researchers collected otoliths from over 1,000 carcasses.

Wild fall-run Chinook salmon typically stay in freshwater for three to six months after birth and then migrate out through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and into the ocean, spending up to three years there before returning to their native river to spawn. Hatchery-born fish, on the other hand, are usually trucked to the bay, bypassing obstacles like freshwater pollution, low water levels and predators that their wild counterparts consistently contend with.

While a set number of hatchery fish make it to sea each year, Dr. Johnson says she suspects that wild population dynamics vary from year to year, depending on conditions.

Those population dynamics were surprisingly skewed for the 2004-5 season, when the researchers carried out their work. Of around 12,000 fish that returned and spawned in the Mokelumne watershed, most were hatchery fish that went directly to the hatchery. About 1,500 fish spawned in the Mokelumne River itself, but just 10 percent were actually born there. All in all, only 4 percent of the total spawning population were of natural origin.

Researchers are unsure exactly why natural populations have such low survival rates, but they suspect that water degradation, pollution and overfishing all contribute. Hatchery fish themselves could be having an impact, too: recent studies have found genetic and behavioral differences in hatchery-born and wild salmonids. Hybrid offspring of hatchery and wild fish may have a lower chance of surviving and reproducing than purely wild offspring do.

Artificial propagation aimed at aiding the recovery of endangered or threatened species is a controversial topic in ecology. Researchers and policymakers debate whether simply producing more animals of a dwindling species is an acceptable means of sustaining populations. “The ultimate goal for habitat restoration is that we are helping fish rebuild in a natural environment, not intervening in such an extreme way,” Dr. Johnson said.

[Salmonguy note: "restore" habitat...? is that really possible at this point in time? 'restore' to what? "restore" salmon runs... restore to what?]

Fall-run Chinook salmon are listed as a species of concern, but this label results largely from a lack of data on their their populations. Although managers set a goal of doubling the numbers of wild salmon in the Mokelumne River, until now it has been impossible to estimate how many naturally occurring fish are present.

[also a real problem across western North America where wild Pacific salmon roam]

Dr. Johnson, who is currently based at the Bay Delta office of the federal Bureau of Reclamation, emphasizes that she is not anti-hatchery, but that more awareness and monitoring of the salmon situation is needed to determine why wild salmon stocks are not replacing themselves and whether salmon populations can survive if the hatcheries are (hypothetically) shut down.

Mass marking of all hatchery fish — like clipping a fin — would make this job easier, and many hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest are already doing this.

Globally, the number of hatchery-produced fish of salmon and other salmonids has skyrocketed over the past 20 years,” Dr. Johnson said. “Even though this study was done on the Mokelumne River, I think it’s a broader issue for salmon conservation.”

You bet, Dr. Johnson, you bet…

And only set to grow if Russia is able to put their $2 billion in cash to work in building salmon hatcheries in the far east of that country on the Pacific side. Japan is already pumping out over 95% of their annual commercial catch as hatchery salmon… And Alaska’s billions of “salmon ranching”… and Canada’s 600 million or so hatchery salmon…

Old Vitus Bering & George Stellr are probably rolling in a grave somewhere… (early European ‘explorers’ and naturalists working for Russian Navy in 1700s — you can see their ‘graphiti’ all over the North Pacific)

Canada’s commitment to wildlife… panda-groan-ium.

Canada's priorities...?

.

A very successful ‘trade’ mission to China for the “Harper” canadian government…

Harper’s panda diplomacy with China yields cute, cuddly results

CHONGQING, China — The pandas are coming, the pandas are coming!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially confirmed Saturday that China has agreed to loan two giant pandas to zoos in Toronto and Calgary for a period of five years each — beginning next year — at a cost of $10 million.

In what had become the worst-kept secret of his trade mission to the Middle Kingdom, Harper visited a zoo in Chongqing to announce that Canada has secured a pair of pandas on loan from China for consecutive five-year periods, beginning with the Toronto Zoo in 2013 and then Calgary in 2018.

Male bear ErShun (which translates into Two/Smooth) is from the Chongqing zoo and female Ji Li (Pretty/Achievement) is from a Chengdu facility. The five-year-old bears are expected to arrive in Toronto by March or April next year.

“The pandas’ visit to Canada represents an important step forward in the blossoming relationship between our two peoples.”

Officials from the two zoos said they have agreed to pay $1 million a year for the bamboo-munchers, for a total of $10 million U.S. over the decade that will go toward panda conservation.

Millions of dollars more will be spent to prepare the zoos and care for the animals, including about $200,000 or so a year in bamboo costs to feed the bears and additional fees to train Canadian panda handlers with help from the Chinese.

However, they expect to fully recover the costs from new sponsorship and an estimated one million or more additional visitors each year when the pandas arrive.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I’m not sure I fully understand…

I don’t think the Canadian government is necessarily on the hook for the $10 million plus for the pandas… but let’s get this straight:

John Tracogna, CEO of the Toronto Zoo, noted pandas often live in cooler climates in the mountains of China, so chilly Canadian weather shouldn’t be a problem. Zoo exhibits will also be climatized to help meet the needs of the bears, he said.

Ummm… so what are the pandas going to do (the wild ones that is) when China guzzles down the world’s oil, coal, and other resources (including Canada’s) and the climate warms by 5 degrees?

Not all pandas (or wild salmon) for that fact can live in “climatized” zoo exhibits…

And what if we could get “sponsorship” to visit wild salmon spawning in their natural habitat? and in turn put that into wild salmon conservation efforts? or habitat rehabilitation?

Gee, maybe the Pattisson line of companies that own most of the salmon fishing fleet could retire the licenses and do that…? (Sponsored by the “Harper” government…)

Still doubting that marketing is everything and everything is marketing…?

Panda diplomacy has become an integral part of the People’s Republic of China’s relationship with the international community, representing a national symbol of goodwill and the country’s desire for better relations.

Trading bears is a sign of goodwill and peace… wow… what a planet. (wondering if China and Syria ever traded panda bears…?)

I’ve heard of ‘green-washing’; but i’m not sure I’ve heard of ‘panda-washing’… (oh right, that’s the world wildlife fund…)

Really, Mr. Oliver, Natural Resources Minister: Who’s ‘Driven by an ideological imperative’?

does this make sense?

Here we go…

In early January, rookie minister Joe Oliver — federal Minister of Natural Resources penned an open letter to Canadians, suggesting that radical environmentalists and the like were hijacking processes such as the National Energy Board hearings into the proposed Enbridge Northern exit-way Pipeline.

Here’s the CBC story from Jan.:

‘Driven by an ideological imperative’

In an interview on CBC News Network, Oliver said radicals are “a group of people who don’t take into account the facts but are driven by an ideological imperative.”

Review process should be shortened, minister says

Oliver says he thinks the environmental review process can be shorter and still protect Canada.

“Of course it’s a matter of judgment. We want to have enough time, but we don’t want to permit people to hijack the process, and that’s what’s been happening,” he said.

Last month, Oliver criticized the environmental review process as he approved French oil giant Total’s Joslyn North oilsands mine project 65 kilometres northwest of Fort McMurray, Alta. He said he wants to see the process streamlined and shortened to two years.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Well, let’s stop and take a look at this for a second, Mr. Oliver (errr… honorable)

Definition of “ideological“?

1. Of or relating to ideology.

2. Of or concerned with ideas.

Hmmm. And definition of “ideology“:

the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.

And curious enough, the roots of the word actually mean: originally “philosophy of the mind which derives knowledge from the senses.”

Well, OK… and definition of “imperative“?

1. absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable: ‘It is imperative that we leave.’

_ _ _ _ _ _ _
And so of all the National Energy Board hearings thus far into Enbridge’s proposed Northern Exit-way pipeline… there has been nary a peep of support, barely a twitter, rarely a squeak of ‘build it, yes’…

Now, let’s quickly look at “radical”, of which there are several definitions…

1. of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: a radical difference.
2. thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in the policy of a company [or country].
3. favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.
4. forming a basis or foundation.
5. existing inherently in a thing or person: radical defects of character.

So, I suppose Mr. Oliver, you are referring to #3 — those crazy radicals favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms…

Let’s think about that for a second………………

Build a new oil pipeline through north-central BC where one does not currently exist..

Plow over 200+ oil supertankers along the north-central coast of BC and through Hecate Strait where nary few run now…

Does that not imply, then, that building an oil pipeline is in fact the “radical reform” socially, economically, and politically?

And so who, really, are the “radicals” here?

(Not to mention that last time I checked the current “Harper” government is rather full of the old Reform Party brethren — many of those that do not believe in Darwin’s theories or other rather ‘radical’ scientific theories that refute the good holy word…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Let’s step forward a little to today’s headlines:

Chinese ‘frustrated’ by Northern Gateway regulatory delays

Chinese oil executives are growing frustrated with regulatory delays in plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline, even as interest in Canadian oil and gas surges in the energy-hungry country, the head of Enbridge Inc. says.

Enbridge chief executive officer Pat Daniel said despite keen interest here in Canadian oil and gas reserves, this seemingly made-in-heaven match is threatened by delays in the company’s efforts to establish a $5.5-billion, 1,177-kilometre pipeline to carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to a deep sea port at Kitimat, B.C., for shipping to Asian markets.

Curious… I certainly don’t remember Mr. Harper celebrating China as a “made in heaven” match just a few short years ago as he celebrated the work of the Dalai Lama…

“They’re frustrated, as we are, in the length of time it takes,” Mr. Daniel said in an interview on the sidelines of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s mission to China. “They’re very anxious to diversify their supply, they’re very dependent on the Middle East for crude.

“[Canada] seems like the perfect match that should last a long time, but if you don’t move it along, people do lose interest. We don’t have forever,” he continued. “The fundamentals in the business can change and you must take advantage of opportunities if and when they present themselves.”

Well… actually, in fact Mr. Daniel, we do have forever… what’s the rush…?

Last I checked China has been around quite some time… some thousands and thousands of years [without Canadian bitumen].

So has the oil in the ground in Canada’s tar sands — also thousands and thousands of years… millions actually.

And, well, the longer the oil stays in the ground, the more valuable it will become… (or obsolete).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Mr. Daniel said they hope to have approvals completed within two years and construction in three, so that oil can begin flowing by late 2016 or early 2017, despite heavy opposition from environmental groups and first nations who fear the impact of an oil spill on some of Canada’s most untouched wilderness and coastline.

Huh… seems there’s this sticky couple hundred year old issue of unsettled treaties in B.C. with First Nations, Mr. Daniel… and… well… your Enbridge team has significantly botched its community relations work in BC.

It’s not just opposition from “environmental” groups. There have been farmers, fisherfolks, unions, teachers, municipalities, mayors, and just average plumbers and carpenters and truck drivers saying: “no thanks Enbridge, no thanks China, no thanks Harper and Oliver.”

And, well, on the coast of BC they’ve been saying that for a long, long time. ’bout as far back as when little Mr. Harper was still wetting his bed.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Well, to spread the headlines around – the National Post is reporting:

China and Canada set for free trade talks as Harper pens multibillion-dollar deals

…The prime minister also announced during his speech to the business forum [in China] that more than 20 commercial agreements — valued at close to $3 billion and involving nearly 50 Canadian and Chinese companies — have been signed during the trade mission to the Middle Kingdom.

“Canada has the resources, technological sophistication, and geo-strategic positioning to complement China’s economic growth strategy. And China’s growth, in turn, complements our determination to diversify our export markets,” Harper told corporate leaders.

“We expect to see similar success stories in Canadian energy exports to China, once infrastructure is in place.”

Harper has said building pipelines to the West Coast — such as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline and a separate one for liquefied natural gas — is a national priority as Canada looks to ship its vast resources to Asia.

[funny, i think i read that correctly... "proposed"]

Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel said the commitment by the Chinese and Canadian governments for a strategic energy partnership will allow Canada to diversify its oil-and-gas export markets beyond the United States and enable China to broaden its supply base.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Hmmm. Why is Enbridge’s CEO in China with PM Harper on a deal-signing trip?

And… does the changing climate really care about complementing China’s growth strategy, or diversifying Canada’s oil markets?

And what about a National Energy Plan for Canada first — let alone looking to satisfy China’s?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Certainly, China is looking for more oil and gas from Canada, with Chinese vice-premier Li saying Thursday his country wants to increase imports of energy and natural resources from Canada.

State-owned Chinese oil and gas firms have invested more than $10 billion into Alberta’s oilsands and B.C. shale gas plays over the past couple of years alone, and the two partners expect the trend will continue.

“Canada is one of the countries with a deep energy and resource reserve. China, meanwhile, is a large and stable market,” Li, through a translator, told the business forum. He called for “more large-scale cooperation” on petroleum and minerals.

Never before has Canada-China business cooperation been so deep-based and wide ranging,” Li added.

The Chinese leadership is also pushing for the early signing and ratification of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), with Premier Wen Jiabao encouraging the two sides to further explore the feasibility of a full free-trade agreement.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

From human-rights abusers and Harper’s doghouse — to best buds and potential ‘free-trade partners’… in less than six years.

Really, Mr. Oliver, who are the radical ideologues?

Who’s ‘Driven by an ideological imperative’?

(that being definition #2 “thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms”)

_ _ _ _ _ _

Lastly, if you’re curious about where rookie 70-year old MP Oliver came from:

Joe Oliver: From Bay Street to Natural Resources

Mr. Oliver spent more than 30 years in the investment world, working at several brokerage firms before becoming executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission and then head of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.

Do you think he, or past clients might own some Enbridge stocks?

Really, Mr. Oliver, who’s driven by the ideology — those looking to just make another buck, or those looking out for the good of the BC landscape, seascape, and greater global challenge of this little thing called “warming”…?

Canada is pathetically ranked 125th of 127 countries in fisheries conservation. If this was our hockey ranking, what would be the National response?

Why is this not a major headline in Canada’s newspapers today?

This is fundamentally embarrassing to all Canadians.

And an absolute embarrassment to the federal government: current governing regime and opposition parties alike.

We are but an island surrounded by three coastlines – east, west, and north. We celebrate our coastlines, our oceans, our marine environment, our fisheries, and so on. Canada has the world’s longest coastline and a total of 7.1 million square kilometres of ocean.

Yet, as the Royal Society presents in their report just released:

Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity: Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries, and Aquaculture

 

  • …among industrialized fishing nations, the status of Canada’s marine fish stocks is among the worst in the world.

.

  • Researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities constructed an Environmental Performance Index and used it to rank 163 countries on 25 performance indicators, for environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. In this analysis, Canada was ranked 125th of 127 countries in terms of fisheries conservation.

 

[If we ranked this low in hockey, what would be the National response?]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Here are the “MAIN MESSAGES —SUSTAINING CANADIAN MARINE BIODIVERSITY” available in PDF from the website link above.

  • Canada sees itself as a world leader in ocean management, but we have failed to meet most of our national and international commitments to protect marine biodiversity.

.

  • Canada lags behind other modernized nations in almost every aspect of fisheries management. Despite pledges on conservation and sound policies, Fisheries and Oceans has generally done a poor job of managing fish stocks, planning for whole ecosystems and protecting marine biodiversity.

.

  • The government should act to review and rewrite outdated statutes, take rapid action on national and international commitments, curtail the discretionary powers of the minister of Fisheries and Oceans and move to limit regulatory conflict in that department.

.

  • Canada needs national operational objectives to protect and restore natural diversity and to rebuild depleted populations and species. Improving and protecting ocean health will restore the natural resilience of Canada’s marine ecosystems to adapt in response to the challenges posed by climate change and other human activities.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Here are some ‘lowlights’ from the report:

After examining the evidence, we conclude Canada has made little substantive progress in meeting its commitments to sustain marine biodiversity. Although Canada has developed and signed on to sound policies and agreements, and heralded good ideas with strong rhetoric, comparatively little has actually been done, leaving many of our national and international obligations unfulfilled.

[hmmmm, does this sound like our/Canada's approach to climate change?]

That can — and must — be changed, starting with the Oceans Act. This 1996 law was a landmark in the move toward managing the oceans from an ecosystem perspective, after decades of focusing on one species or habitat at a time, without regard to the intricacies of biodiversity. Unlike the Fisheries Act, it provided a clearly articulated legislative foundation for marine conservation (an objective no one would even have considered in 1868, when the Fisheries Act was written). It was followed by the Species at Risk Act (2002), which included a commitment to develop legislation for the protection of threatened species.

But neither has lived up to its promise

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

In ecosystem-based management, decisions must take into account the sustainability of ecosystem components and attributes. In several jurisdictions, policies and regulations now use this more comprehensive viewpoint.

Effective ecosystem-based management usually involves the “precautionary approach”, which stresses that the absence of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing decisions where there is a chance of serious or irreversible harm. They also set “reference” targets to warn when stocks are getting low and include plans for promoting recovery if a population drops too far.

In contrast to other developed fishing countries, Canada has not adopted the use of reference points. For example, 20 years after the collapse of Newfoundland’s northern cod (once one of the largest fish stocks in the world,) there is still no recovery target, let alone a timeline for rebuilding.

We think that is unacceptable.

One consequence of this lack of initiative is that, among industrialized fishing nations, the status of Canada’s marine fish stocks is among the worst in the world.

In fact, compared to other major fishing nations such as Australia and New Zealand, Canada is moving very slowly on incorporating ecosystem indicators into scientific guidance. Our policies for conservation of wild Pacific and Atlantic salmon, for example, recognize the need for consideration of ecosystem-level.

But they have yet to be implemented.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Driving reform of the Fisheries Act will not be easy. There is no indication the health of the ocean is a great concern for the present government.

In the Speech From the Throne that opened Canada’s 41st Parliament on June 3, 2011, there was no reference to climate change, species recovery, fisheries rebuilding, or marine biodiversity. Neither the word ‘ocean’ nor ‘Arctic’ was mentioned in the throne speech.

The ‘sea’ was mentioned in the context of a government commitment to complete the Dempster Highway to connect Canada “by road from sea to sea to sea”. ‘Fishing’ was used only in the context of a government pledge to support it and other industries “as they innovate and grow”.

As well, the Fisheries Act delegates absolute discretion to the minister of Fisheries and Oceans [who in many cases couldn't tell the difference between a northern pike and a pink salmon] to make decisions, with no formalized scientific guidelines or environmental framework for them.

That leaves important biodiversity issues open to dictates of passing political concerns and is completely at odds with the best practices of fisheries legislation that supports sustainability, such as in the US, Norway, and Australia.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Further legislative measures that should be considered to adequately protect marine biodiversity include:

  • Ending the inherent conflict within DFO to promote industry and economic activity on one hand and the conservation of fish and aquatic ecosystems on the other;

[hmmm, anyone who has read posts on this blog has heard this point before -- if you have a federal Ministry with the word "Fisheries" in it... and its central mandate is "conservation"... then there is a problem]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The preamble to the Oceans Act says Parliament wished “to reaffirm Canada’s role as a world leader in oceans and marine resources management.” This was a remarkable statement, given the Act was passed in 1996, a short four years after the collapse of the northern cod fishery.

That one example of resource mismanagement was not only the greatest numerical loss of a vertebrate in Canadian history, it resulted in the greatest single layoff in Canada when between 30-40,000 people lost their jobs. It also cost $2-3 billion in social and economic financial aid.

But rhetoric over substance too often characterizes the Government of Canada’s handling of its oceans and their marine biodiversity. In contrast to Canada’s self-proclaimed ocean leadership, analyses of Canada’s marine conservation and management initiatives are less than complimentary.

Researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities constructed an Environmental Performance Index and used it to rank 163 countries on 25 performance indicators, for environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. In this analysis, Canada was ranked 125th of 127 countries in terms of fisheries conservation.

Canada has consistently failed to meet targets and obligations to conserve biodiversity and promote sustainability. The government has the knowledge, expertise and even the policy and legislation it needs to correct that; but multiple factors have combined to slow the pace of statutory and policy implementation almost to a standstill.

Those factors, we believe, include the inherent conflict at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which has mandates both to promote industrial and economic activity and to conserve marine life and ocean health. The minister of Fisheries and Oceans has excessive discretionary power to dictate activities that should be directed by science and shaped by transparent social and political values.

Canada’s progress has been unduly slow in both an absolute sense (some commitments have still not been met almost two decades after they were agreed on) and comparatively — other western industrialized nations have made substantive progress in meeting, and often exceeding, their national and international commitments to sustain marine biodiversity.

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Fundamentally embarrassing and disgraceful. Yet saying so with current governing regime will get one labelled a ‘renegade’ or ‘treasoner’ or whatever other empty rhetoric that the Reform Party, err wait, I mean the Conservative party has to offer.

Yet, this is not at the hands of one political party… everyone one of the four main Parties that have been active over the last couple of decades bears a responsibility.

It’s disgraceful.

Hopefully Justice Cohen is reading this and takes a good stab at the issue in this disgraceful situation being afflicted upon Fraser sockeye — and Pacific wild salmon in general on Canada’s left coast.

And media response to this report so far… about all I’ve see is the Vancouver Sun:

Canada’s failure to protect marine biodiversity ‘disappointing and dismaying,’ asserts panel chair

Canada is failing miserably at protecting its rich marine biodiversity from the looming threat of climate change, an expert-panel report for the Royal Society of Canada concluded Thursday.

“Canada has made little substantive progress in fulfilling national and international commitments to sustain marine biodiversity,” the panel report found.

The report noted that the Fisheries Act is beset with regulatory conflicts in terms of protecting and exploiting fish stocks, and the minister of fisheries and oceans wields too much discretionary power.

The report also says the Species at Risk Act has proven ineffective at protecting and recovering marine species at risk, and a promised national marine protected areas network “remains unfilled.”

The application of a “precautionary” management approach with harvest-control rules and recovery plans remains “absent for most fisheries,” the report added.

Panel chairman Jeff Hutchings, a biology professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said the federal government’s lack of action at protecting marine biodiversity is “extremely disappointing and dismaying,” a concern that also applies to management of high-profile Atlantic cod stocks.

“Anybody can see, and anybody can assuredly be bloody angry, that 20 years after the collapse of the northern cod fishery we don’t have a target for recovery,” he told a Vancouver news conference. “How is that possibly consistent with responsible management of our oceans?”

Canada has the world’s longest coastline and a total of 7.1 million square kilometres of ocean — in the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic — amounting to a global stewardship responsibility, the report found.

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Are we going to stand for this?

Hello… anyone?

Propaganda: still doubting that marketing is everything and everything is marketing?

Harper Government branding exercise

I drew this cartoon in September 2011 as the “Harper Government” brand was ramping into overdrive.

It (Harper government) is now inserting itself (Harper Government) everywhere from the NHL All-Star Game, Stanley Cup Finals, to the Grey Cup and the show of Canada’s military…

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Propaganda:

1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

3. the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

The etymology of the word suggests: “Neo-Latin, short for congregātiō dē propāgandā fidē  congregation for propagating the faith.”

Hmmmm… hearkens to the roots of the current “Conservatives”… good ‘ol “Reform”

Doubt #3 in the definition above — see article below suggesting there are now over 1500 people hired by the Government in “communications”… (not to mention the free flow, back-and-forth of Harper staffers between major Canadian corporations and the Harper Government)

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There’s a decent little blurb on Wikipedia:

Defining propaganda has always been a problem. The main difficulties have involved differentiating propaganda from other types of persuasion, and avoiding a “if they do it then that’s propaganda, while if we do it then that’s information and education” biased approach.

Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell have provided a concise, workable definition of the term: “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

More comprehensive is the description by Richard Alan Nelson: “Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism—the applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion.

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Interesting read at Globe & Mail:

Under this PM, the state is everywhere

What does the Grey Cup football game have to do with the Canadian military? Not much, you say. True enough. But chalk up another public-relations triumph for the governing Conservatives. They turned the opening ceremonies of our annual sports classic into a military glorification exercise.

For our part in the NATO Libya campaign, the Defence Minister took bows on the field. A Canadian flag was spread over 40 yards. Cannons boomed.

The blending of sport and the military, with the government as the marching band, is part of the new nationalism the Conservatives are trying to instill. It is another example of how the state, under Stephen Harper’s governance, is becoming all-intrusive.

The propaganda machine has become mammoth and unrelenting. The parliamentary newspaper The Hill Times recently found there are now no fewer than 1,500 communications staffers on the governing payroll.

On the propaganda ledger, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney put on a show in committee last week. In what may have been a first, his spinners set up a billboard behind him replete with bright Conservative blue colours and flags. Everything except a marching band.

In the message-massaging department, news has arrived that the government is imposing new communications controls on the RCMP. The same is being done with the Defence Department. Secrecy surrounds the government’s plans to spend a whopping $477-million on a U.S. military satellite.

State surveillance, the rationale being security, is being taken to new levels. The Conservatives are bringing in legislation that will compel Internet service-providers to disclose customer information. A Canada-U.S. agreement is on the way that will contain an entry-exit system that will track everyone.

Research that contradicts the government line is discarded. Civil liberties fade, new jails proliferate. Those who speak out better watch out. When the NDP’s Megan Leslie stated an opposing view on the Keystone XL Pipeline, she was accused by the government of treachery.

[and yes, add in all those B.C. treasoners and adversaries and renegades speaking out against the proposed Enbridge Northern exit-way pipeline]

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Want some more interesting read, then how about Terry Glavin’s comment at the National Post:

Terry Glavin: Ottawa to Beijing — take our oil, please

In Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen, Brian enters a conversation I’ve been lately encouraging sensible Canadians to have about the implications of Prime Minister Harper’s unexplained and sudden embrace of a corporate entity run by the Chinese Communist Party that serves as the guarantor of Omar al-Bashir’s regime in Khartoum, the bottomless overdraft in Bashar al-Assad’s bank account in Damascus, and the specific means by which Tehran’s Khomeinists are evading the West’s sanctions and double-daring us into a war.

The prime minister would like that entity, Sinopec, to add to its global services the means by which Canada might emancipate itself from its over-reliance on American oil markets, and the stratagem that will allow Mr. Harper himself to look rather more manly in those obligatory White House photo opportunities that put him next to the handsome and swaggering American president with the smirk on his face.

Meanwhile, none of the formerly freedom-loving rednecks who now rally to the prime minister’s side in this affair have exhibited so much as a blush as they do so, when everybody knows full well what they’d have done had the New Democrats even hinted favourably in the direction of an arrangement anything like the one the prime minister has embraced. They’d be denouncing the NDP as al Qaida’s fifth column in Canada and they’d be busy filling the op-ed pages of the dailies with stout demands that Harper invite a team of US Navy Seals to round up the NDP caucus en masse so they could be executed for high treason in front of city hall in Fort McMurray.

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Hmmm, remember the “Taliban Jack” comments directed towards former NDP leader Jack Layton by the “Harper Gov” when Layton suggested negotiations in Afghanistan might be the way to go.

I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time until that suggestions plays itself out as maybe not so far off the mark — Americans are now out of Iraq and how ‘peaceful’ is it there? All the foreigners will be pulled out of Afghanistan soon enough, and what will be the result?

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What does all this have to do with wild salmon?

Everything.

The changes required… require political will.

When a governing regime is too busy muzzling scientists, silencing critics, uttering threats to non-profits and charities, and running a propaganda machine yet espousing austerity measures, which will hurt the mid and lower wage earners and poverty-mired first… then there’s a problem.

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And, when it doubt just make it up:

Kenney’s office apologizes for ‘new Canadians’ stunt

Six federal bureaucrats were drafted to pose as new Canadians for a citizenship reaffirmation ceremony broadcast on the Sun News network, an event requested by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office.

The bureaucrats smiled and held Canadian flags as the TV hosts referred to a group of 10 people as “new Canadians” that had “finally” received their citizenship.