Hold Ottawa accountable…? Unreasonable…?

Here’s a curious view from two pretty different places:

Seth Godin, marketing maven has a post on his blog today:


It’s unreasonable to get out of bed on a snow day, when school has been canceled, and turn the downtime into six hours of work on an extra credit physics lab.

It’s unreasonable to launch a technology product that jumps the development curve by nine months, bringing the next generation out much earlier than more reasonable competitors.

It’s unreasonable for a trucking company to answer the phone on the first ring.

It’s unreasonable to start a new company without the reassurance venture money can bring.

It’s unreasonable to expect a doctor’s office to have a pleasant and helpful front desk staff.

It’s unreasonable to walk away from a good gig in today’s economy, even if you want to do something brave and original.

It’s unreasonable for teachers to expect that we can enable disadvantaged inner city kids to do well in high school.

It’s unreasonable to treat your colleagues and competitors with respect given the pressure you’re under.

It’s unreasonable to expect that anyone but a great woman, someone with both drive and advantages, could do anything important in a world where the deck is stacked against ordinary folks.

It’s unreasonable to devote years of your life making a product that most people will never appreciate.

Fortunately, the world is filled with unreasonable people…

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Is it then unreasonable for the federal government to then, be held accountable for certain decisions?

Such as, for example, this article from Justine Hunter in the Globe and Mail today:

Hold Ottawa accountable for salmon probe delay, B.C. treaty commission head says

The federal government should be on the hook for the hidden cost of its decision to grant the Cohen commission on Fraser River sockeye another year to complete its work, says the head of the BC Treaty Commission.

At least seven first nations communities are in treaty limbo, their debts mounting while they wait for a verdict from the salmon inquiry before they can move ahead with settling their claims.

“The Cohen inquiry should not continue to be used as an excuse not to get on with business at the treaty table,” said Sophie Pierre, chief commissioner for the BC Treaty Commission.

…“We need some accountability here from the federal government,” she said. “They are really big on demanding accountability from first nations, but that shoe goes on both feet. We need accountability from them too.”

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And yet through all of this DFO continues to fund and participate in at least two different processes in BC with First Nations which are discussing co-management and/or joint management of salmon fisheries.

The article:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed the Cohen commission to investigate what happened on the Fraser River in 2009, when only about one million sockeye returned in a run that was supposed to number more than 10 million.

Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, later announced the federal government would defer negotiating fisheries issues at treaty tables in B.C. until the Cohen commission reports out. At that time, the Cohen report was due by May 1, 2011. It now has until June, 2012 to complete its investigation into the cause of the decline of the Fraser River sockeye runs.

“Defer” negotiating fisheries issues at BC treaty tables?

Well… what First Nation in BC living in areas that drain to the Pacific, with salmon present — doesn’t have fisheries as central components of their culture and communities?

So by “deferring” these negotiations that have been underway since 1992 for many Nations within the BC Treaty Process — how does this benefit any one, or any process?

But then I suppose, It’s unreasonable to expect a government based in Ottawa, a Minister originally from PEI, and a federal department also based in Ottawa to actually understand fisheries issues and to act with some sort of accountability and sense?

I don’t know if it’s chronic or not — however it seems the bureaucratic behemoth that is DFO is a little lost on the path… some money here, some money there… here some money, there some money… there a bureaucrat, here a bureaucrat, everywhere a bureaucrat… with a bling, bling here, a bling, bling there… here a bling… there a bling… everywhere a bling, bling…

(and I’m not so sure the Cohen Commission into Fraser River sockeye declines is going to make the map any more clear… or magically create a solution to a 150 year old issue in BC: access to fish and fisheries; access which was there for time immemorial before…)

Who’s accountable for all this?

5 thoughts on “Hold Ottawa accountable…? Unreasonable…?

  1. Brian

    Well, when you consider all the groups that demanded to have standing; all the groups and individuals that were not granted standing, but wanted to be heard (like you); all the legal teams for all the groups at the commission; all the witnesses giving testimony; and all the documentation (reports, studies, emails, etc.) DEMANDED by the public to be reviewed how can you really be surprised, Dave? The public demanded a very throughout and transparent commission where nothing was hidden so that all interested parties could examine evidence and cross-examine witnesses with using their own people. The length of the inquiry is not DFO’s fault. If anything was taken out to shorten things up then the public would be angry also – can’t win either way really. If you were looking for a speedy process you need to come back from Utopia.

  2. salmon guy Post author

    thanks Brian, I don’t think anywhere I said the process (Cohen Commission) had to be, or would be, speedy. If anything probably the opposite… I never believed for a second that the Commission would get their work done by the original timelines.

    However, I don’t tend to believe that this will be the Commission to end all Commissions either… an idea that’s thrown around from time to time… There is this slight issue with the other four or so species of salmon in the Fraser River and other areas, and gravel extraction in the lower Fraser, and functionally extinct stocks in the upper Fraser, that rather large dam on the Nechako that isn’t doing any fish any favors, the issue with Orcas and early-timed Chinook… and so on and so on.

    I do wish them luck though and I sure hope something with some real meaning comes out of the process and that governments actually implement… Just seems a bit odd that fisheries chapters of Treaty negotiations were “deferred” and yet every other “fishery” (including salmon farming) continues on unabated.

    Maybe something like what came out of the Berger Inquiry into the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline issues — will happen here? That inquiry basically said moratorium on development until Treaty issues are figured out. And here we are thirty or so years later and much closer to having many of those Treaties implemented — and still no pipeline.

    Repeated reports, even out of right leaning organizations suggest that good faith negotiations with First Nation surrounding Treaties and aboriginal rights and title are absolutely essential for business development and investment in the Province. Arbitrary decisions made by the Minister (and Conservative government) on deferring fisheries chapters of BC treaties while the Cohen Commission is underway… don’t help the process.

    hence the questions of accountability…

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