slippery secret salmon science society

is this the secret?

Announcement: the Slippery Secret Salmon Science Society (S5) is hosting Seance Saturday (S2)…

It’s called S5 + S2 = ??

If you can answer the question you win a new neutron microscope…

(remember your secret spawning salmon handshake…)

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As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve been reviewing various kernels of information on the Cohen Commission. One can surf through the Executive Summaries of some of the technical reports — only one of the reports is available to download (Project 9 – Effects of climate change on Fraser River sockeye salmon).

Some others are hidden in transcripts as “evidence”. Others are not available yet. And one — Project 11 – Fraser River sockeye salmon: status of DFO science and management — is apparently not going to be done. At least according to the most recently posted status report:

Commission counsel have decided not to present project 11, Fraser River Sockeye SalmonStatus of DFO Science and Management, into evidence. The financial information requested by the commission’s researcher for project 11 could not be obtained in the time frame needed to complete the intended analyses.

Further, the Commissioner has heard or will hear direct evidence on the issues covered in the technical report. In particular, the Commissioner will hear evidence directly from DFO witnesses on these issues during the final hearing topic, “DFO Priorities & Summary.”

Hmmm… the report that would most likely shine the light on the biggest culprit in Fraser sockeye declines slinks off into oblivion.

Might some surmise this is because the small world of salmon scientists didn’t want to open the can of worms and potentially affect their chances of securing contracts with the only show going out there — the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

(I wouldn’t want to be so cynical… however, some may not find it a huge stretch…)

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A couple of curious things I’ve noticed in reading the Technical Reports:

1. Each report has two reviewers — comments and responses from reviewers and report authors are recorded at the end of the documents.

Now, one should probably conclude that this is meant as a quasi-peer review process — the great leveler of scientific literature. Oddly, though, many of the reviewers are some of the authors of other Commission technical reports. And more oddly, some of the reviewers are co-authors of other papers with the authors of the technical reports that they are reviewing.

Is this really a transparent, open method of reviewing and providing critical feedback?

Or, is this the ‘secret’ society of salmon scientists…?

Is the world of salmon experts really so small that something as important as the science review for the Cohen Commission resembles a tight-knit Conservative Party climate change fundraiser in Calgary (the heart of oil and gas co. headquarters)?

Even reading through one of the better technical reports — Project 9 – Effects of climate change on Fraser River sockeye salmon — one reads about the past in-depth research done by these two researchers paid for bythe Pacific Salmon Commission and DFO

Did you read in yesterday’s post how a “seance” is sometimes known simply as a: “sitting of a society”?

Is this “scientific” work simply a seance of a salmon society?

2. The bulk of the reports appear to simply be literature reviews. Some go so far as to hypothesize qualitative matrices (“the matrix”) and so on that organize literature reviews into some sort of quasi-scientific view of the salmon world.

And, there is a whole lot of: “due to limited data…” and “lack of data…” and “lack of data limited testing for cause and effect…” and “Due to our inability to rigorously test for cause effect relationships…”

And so on, and so on…

And take a guess at what the bulk of the recommendations are…?

We need more research…”

We highly recommend research priorities focus on…”

more research…” “More Research…” and (you got it) “MORE RESEARCH…”

Is this not akin to police doing investigations on themselves and concluding no wrong-doing…or… more investigations required?

Or, politicians recommending their own raises and increases to expense accounts…or increased terms?

Ok… maybe a bit of a stretch… and not necessarily similar — simply intended to make a point… there is some irony in scientific researchers saying they need to do more research — when that’s what brings home the bacon.

Some of this should potentially be taken with a big truckload of salt… we can research EVERYTHING further… or summarize research further, or review research, or identify gaps, or… or…

The other danger of this approach is that it makes implementing real change — rather difficult.

Why implement change when “we just don’t know… we’re not sure… the apparent evidence is not conclusive.”?

It’s not all that different… than say… cancelling elections and simply basing governments on poll results. Or, waiting until Inuvik, NWT experiences green Christmases before implementing real climate change policy…

Watching election coverage last night, Elizabeth May the Green Party leader and first elected North American Green Party candidate quipped: “the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic was built by professionals…”

Granted, that apparently god was directing Noah’s building plans… however, the Titanic was most definitely deemed unsinkable by the pros…

_ _ _ _ _

Now, I recognize these technical reports for the Cohen Commission are meant for the privilege of Justice Cohen himself.

The commission established a scientific research program to enhance the Commissioner’s understanding of the science behind the decline of Fraser River sockeye. The commission contracted with qualified and experienced external scientific researchers to study a wide range of technical and scientific issues designed to address potential causes for the decline. (from Apr. 27 Status Report)

My quick look-up of the definition of “enhancement” suggests: “To make greater, as in value, beauty, or effectiveness; augment.” So I’m guessing the Commissioner might have augmented knowledge, or more effective knowledge, or even beautiful knowledge of salmon science… or… errrr… ummm… the apparent incredible “lack of data”… “limited data” … and the mass of opinions in the slippery salmon science society suggesting “more research required” .

Let’s hope that this augmented knowledge sees past the slippery secret society to suggest real meaningful change — because if real change is to be dictated by scientists… then we’re going to be waiting a lot longer than the great bovine herd return… (errr… homecoming of the cows…)

Plus isn’t science supposed to be “objective”… e.g. “presented factually”… and how do we do that if we don’t have ALL the data? all the “facts”? the “truth”?

_ _ _ _ _ _

I recognize this is a little tough on the scientific institution… there is a valuable place for science, and I’m prone as the next wild salmon guy to quote my gumboot biology textbook… however, healthy wild salmon runs aren’t really about SCIENCE… They’re about politics and political will.

There are a heck of a lot more scientists involved in stating that climate change is here, here to stay, and one of the greatest threats to humankind… there are scientist declarations… scientists warnings… scientists sit-ins… scientist hunger strikes — stating that climate change is here, and it could be devastating.

But show me the life altering policy changes at the political level… show me a current sitting politician (not a previous politician flying hundreds of thousands of kms a year touting the dangers of climate change…) that is making the hard decisions to stem the tide…

Even this Cohen Commission report #11 states:

Overall, the weight of the evidence on the adverse effects of recent warming on survival of some individual life stages, as well as its possible cumulative effects across life stages, suggest that climate change has been a possible contributor to the observed declining trend in abundance and productivity of Fraser River sockeye salmon over the past 20 years.

And so if climate change is having a negative effect… what difference do any other changes make, if most world governments refuse to make changes to the things causing climate change?

So where is the research reports for the Cohen Commission on political decision-making? — a literature review of all the political decisions that have endangered salmon runs (or cod… or sturgeon… or whales… etc.)?

Science plays a part… yes… but politics rule the game…

And how are you salmon folks feeling about the new majority rule here in Canada (put in with about 40% of the popular vote)? Think it’s going to get better for wild salmon out there?

8 thoughts on “slippery secret salmon science society

  1. Brian

    So, it appears that you believe that all these non-governmental scientists are all part of a grand conspiracy to save everyone’s butt including those in DFO because they are worried about future contracts.

    So, these scientists are part of some “secret society of salmon scientists”. These professionals who you call out with nothing more than speculation are all collaborating together.


    Spring must be late in PG….however some might not find it a huge stretch.

    Quote: “Even reading through one of the better technical reports — Project 9 – Effects of climate change on Fraser River sockeye salmon – one reads about the past in-depth research done by these two researchers paid for by… the Pacific Salmon Commission and DFO…”

    LOL….so what are you trying to say!? Who would ever think that DFO or the PSC would fund research? Who would ever think that DFO would actually be helping people like Scott Hinch do this type of research? Afterall, those people at DFO likely could work collaboratively with guys like Scott Hinch because they are out there with the salmon already. I guess guilty as charged for trying to actually further our knowledge. But of course… has to be corrupted because DFO and the PSC are funding it…lol. Critics are upset at DFO for stiffling and research, muzzling scientists and not doing the research necessary and on the other hand they are critical of DFO (and the PSC) attempting to fund it. You’re hilarious, Dave. If guys like Scott Hinch and his team are doing research on Pacific Salmon don’t you think it is logical that DFO and the PSC would be involved?

  2. kd

    I think David raises quite a valid point about the incestuous nature of the relationships between consultants and scientists inside and outside of DFO. And the phrase ‘dont bite the hand that feeds you’ comes to mind as a reality check that sometimes the holier, or more accurately, the ‘more scientific than you’ crowd just doesnt get. Scientific credentials dont get you a bye from basic human nature.

    I agree with his assertion that having the same people write or co-author submissions and then review the submissions aiming to present an opinion to the Commission on what is considered the agreed upon latest knowledge, seems to the layman to be fraught with conflict of interest.

    Moreover, all these relationships between consultants and bureaucrats (who control purse strings) should be examined with a keen eye towards where the money flows. This particular problem isnt isolated to fisheries science by any means.

    And overall, I would agree with the basic premise of the post that a small circle of scientists and consultants, some now in senior positions within DFO, can effectively run an ‘old boys network’ that directs what happens and where funding is directed (above and beyond the regular nature of working in their positions) and I would think it is quite naive to think otherwise in fact.
    Ever looked at where retired old DFO types end up….probably quite a few foundation type vehicles that receive DFO funding/largesse.

    Overall, I felt it was a good thought provoking post.

  3. salmon guy Post author

    a certain amount of tongue in cheek in the post Brian — which, I can understand, is not always possible to pick up in reading text.

    it’s not necessarily about collaborating together in a conspiracy per se — yet many of them do… collaborate. That’s just a simple fact (and not always a negative…). However, it does mean that maybe the thought isn’t as broad as it could be. The salmon science world is a mighty small one. With the smallness may come a smaller world of thinking (but then again maybe bigger…). However, also a pretty clear picture of where the funding comes from.

    And your point about funding is kind of my point… and thank-you for emphasizing it. If the only funding game in town is the Pacific salmon commission (PSC) and DFO, and those organizations are potentially a significant part of the problem, and those organizations come under investigation for their ‘science’ and ‘management’ — shouldn’t it be individuals from completely outside of the organization doing the ‘investigation’ — or at least providing the Commissioner (in this case) with an independent view of the latest science and so on?

    That’s where my ‘police investigating the police’ analogy may not be that far off…

    Yet again, this isn’t to take away from the good and interesting work that many folks within DFO attempt to do, or the good research that various folks like Dr. Hinch do — simply shining a light on an obvious point that maybe doesn’t see much light.

    Why would folks come right out and say — DFO is broken… if that’s where they get some of their bread buttered?

    It’s not meant to be personal per se… more about opening up the hood and seeing where some of the faulty wiring might be hiding… might…

    so, to answer your question… no… i don’t think that just because there’s research on salmon that DFO or PSC should be involved.
    Isn’t this like saying that if you own a Ford you can only take it to a Ford dealer to get work done… (and then in doing so, you open yourself to being ripped off by rates that are significantly higher than the independent shop… simply because there’s a brand name attached… and most importantly a perception that a Ford mechanic is better than the independent…)

    similar analogy with Private Investigators… better get the RCMP involved (or city police) because any investigation of a crime should involve the authorities, and moreover they should fund it…

    or that anyone that does climate change research should be connected to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)… and so on.

  4. salmon guy Post author

    thanks kd — while your comment arrived I was working on a response to Brian’s comment.

    glad someone picked up the gist… Of course, many individuals may start taking this sort of stuff rather personal… but so be it… something has got to change, to shift our salmon relationship. It’s a complex issue with many interests involved… yet, sometimes the obvious needs to be pointed out.

    And this whole science thing and the Cohen Commission is something I’ve tried to stir quite vigorously since the beginning. Unfortunately, so much of the Commission is all about the ‘science’ yet, we know, and we’ll always know that we don’t know everything about salmon — nor will we… ever. (it’s the old Donald Rumsfeld thing… about military intelligence…that quirky oxymoron).

    Sure there’s opportunities for the ‘general public’ (the little people) to submit comments — however are those really going to carry much weight in a ‘science’ heavy process?

    Like the comment in an early submission that suggested that maybe the issue with 2009 Fraser sockeye was lead paint on the Lions Gate Bridge — is that any less relevant than esteemed Dr. Walters spouting off about over-escapement and how the commercial fleet should continue to hammer 80% + of every run and that we just need to accept that small runs should go to oblivion…?

    another post to follow up on this one to belabor the point…
    thanks again.

  5. salmon guy Post author

    afterthought… in relation to Walters’ over-escapement rant…

    how is Justice Cohen going to prove one set of scientific theories is any more right than another?
    We can’t say for 100% sure that the over-escapement theory is right there with the Flat Earth Society… we can only say: ‘we don’t know for sure, but it doesn’t seem plausible… but we don’t know for sure…’

    But then, it seems that we also can’t say for sure — factually… truthfully… — about any of the scientific theories used to ‘manage’ salmon. We simply just don’t know… there’s ‘limited data’… ‘lack of data’… but there always will be! This is the nature of complex systems… and the nature… of… well… ‘nature’. Maybe it was that damn proverbial butterfly in the Amazon jungle that shifted the Pacific decadal oscillation and the Aleutian Low in the North Pacific…?

    who can say for sure?

    Nobody. And so we don’t have a body of ‘facts’ or ‘truths’ to base decisions on. All that we really know is that baby salmon head to sea and come back a few years later as adults. They like clean, cool water and they need some gravel that doesn’t move a lot during the winter. And if you catch too many, the runs die out…

    hmmm. not that complex really…

    The complexity comes in when we start attaching all sorts of scientific theories and algorithms and ‘expansion lines’ and computer models… and most importantly: politicians and business people.

    And quite simply… start dividing the salmon up between user groups. That’s where the issues lie… especially as the pool from which the dividing begins — gets smaller and smaller.

  6. kd

    yes, I guess I was getting more towards the issue of the ‘science industry’…and it really should be called that nowadays. And just like any other industry there are lobbyists that push its causes….as you point out with the observation of ‘we need more research’.

    The interplay between the ‘industry’ and the regulator (DFO) is what is interesting….and tends to get the science types all snooty when laymen criticise or question their professional/ethical conduct….as if somehow they are completely above regular human foibles because of a few letters after their name.

    Again, I thought it was a good post to get people thinking….Isnt that what discourse is all about?

  7. Brian

    Quote from kd: “The interplay between the ‘industry’ and the regulator (DFO) is what is interesting….and tends to get the science types all snooty when laymen criticise or question their professional/ethical conduct….as if somehow they are completely above regular human foibles because of a few letters after their name.”

    Well if you are going to question a person’s professional ethics you need to have more than just speculation, kd. You are basically insinuating that these non-governmental consultants are somehow corrupted. Who would you have write and review these reports that NEVER had any involvement with DFO (or the PSC) at one point or another? You also need to remember that in order to put together some of these reports requires that the people involved have the experience and knowledge necessary to carry out the project. Are you going to get an Ontario fisheries biologist who is experienced with crayfish to produce a report on Sockeye salmon escapement methodology? Or..are you going to have a local environmental consulting firm that has experience with fisheries in this province and that type of methodology to produce the report? Some of these consultants are more specialized in certain areas than others. Some do more site remediation….some do more enviromental monitoring….some do more water and waste water treatment….some are more specialized in fish and fish habitat assessments….and some might do a combination of each. Consultants often have the specialized expertise to carry out certain work that a governmental agency may not be able to do or do it in a cost-effective manner. It might make more sense to outsource the work. I am not sure about your situation, but a biologist with a fixed budget will have to justify how he/she is spending on a certain project.

    It is true that there are environmental consultants out there that have worked for government – but the reverse is true also. Basically, you would be hard pressed to find any biologist or technician (or volunteer) that has done fisheries work in this province that has not had some involvement with federal or provincial fisheries. There is work done for federal or provincial fisheries goes out to contract (i.e. lake and stream inventories). You cannot get away with not dealing with governmental agencies because THEY are the regulating authorities…and in some cases THEY are the client. What about First Nations fisheries technicians working with DFO field employees? See how crazy it can get? You need to be a little realistic here. You are seeing this as purely a conflict of interest situation, but ignoring the other realities of the situation. If you want to severe these working relationships because you “preceive a conflict” then you will likely have nothing done at all – and that goes for more than just fisheries.

    If an environmental consultant is doing work for a governmental agency then there has to be some contract monitoring on the behalf of the governmental agency to ensure that the work is done according to the contract. In many cases there is collaboration that goes on between governmental agencies and private consultants to help get the job done. People working together, sharing ideas to get something done and exchanging knowledge….Is that a bad thing? No, it is not some sort of secret society of individuals looking after their paycheque. That is so laughable. Do you think Scott Hinch would be able to get all the data he needs without some help from DFO? Do you think that his logistical challenges can be made a bit easier with assistance from DFO – people that work all the time with salmon and work in the areas he is interested in? Should government agencies stop working with universities because of your “perceived” conflict of interest concerns? Should we separate ourselves into little islands where we only help ourselves, but not others trying to accomplish the same goal? What you are suggesting is actually worse and counter productive in the end. Again, you need to think more than just what you read in blogs.

    I noticed that the PSC was mentioned before. After reading the following you will notice the governmental AND non-governmental groups. These benefactors include First Nations, but according to Dave’s logic this money shouldn’t be allowed to flow towards them because it could be a conflict. After reading the list of those that have received funding would you agree that this a good thing or a bad thing? Or should these groups go and organize bottle drives and bake sales to get funding to avoid potential conflict? Do you know a little about the individuals that sit on these funding committees? I hope you don’t believe they are corrupted also. Do you know how they select projects for funding? Have you ever received funding from them?

    Have you ever worked for environmental consultants, kd? Environmental consultants do work for provincial agencies, federal agencies, First Nations (amazing eh Dave), forest companies, mining companies, oil and gas companies….and probably a lot more than that. Federal agencies are not the only “hand” to feed these consultants (The Ford analogy is lame, Dave…lol..See below. You could have at least said GM or Dodge). It depends on what the consultant specializes in. Many of these biologists and technicians are members of professional organizations (i.e. College of Applied Biology of BC). This means that there is code of conduct they must follow as well as possible disciplinary action for violations. If you (or Dave) have proof of misconduct of a biologist who is a member or the CAB you have every opportunity to make a complaint:

    This way the biologist accused of misconduct can address his accusers face-to-face (not hidden in the blog world) and the member of the public making the complaint can make his/her case be heard which will be judged on facts – not speculation. I have never been to these misconduct hearings, but I would imagine that what you have provided would likely have to be “expanded” on a little. My guess is that neither you or Dave will follow-up on this course of action (actually I know you won’t) for this simple reason. It is not about getting “snooty”; however, if you are going to come out and accuse someone then perhaps you should give that particular individual a chance to defend him/herself instead of making annoymous allegations. I am sure you would appreciate the opportunity if you were in their shoes.

    Quote from Salmonguy: “Similar analogy with Private Investigators… better get the RCMP involved (or city police) because any investigation of a crime should involve the authorities, and moreover they should fund it…”

    Yes Dave…anarchy is much more preferable.

    Quote from Salmonguy: “Isn’t this like saying that if you own a Ford you can only take it to a Ford dealer to get work done… (and then in doing so, you open yourself to being ripped off by rates that are significantly higher than the independent shop… simply because there’s a brand name attached… and most importantly a perception that a Ford mechanic is better than the independent…)”

    No, it is not about saying someone is better than another. You can’t use this example fairly because it implies that research is exclusively being done by DFO. In some cases you may be correct and that cannot be judged fairly from the outside unless you know the particulars, but in many other cases DFO and the PSC work collaboratively with other groups (including First Nations) on fisheries projects. In many other cases, environmental consultants are called upon to do work for governmental agencies.

  8. salmon guy Post author

    Lots of fair points Brian — and pretty much a blog post… or essay. You may be missing the point, and jumping to some conclusions… or… at least assumptions, and certainly over-reacting. There are no accusations, incrimination, smears or the like. The whole point here has been to ask potentially hard questions and point to potential issues. No where has anyone been painted with a broad brush of corruption…

    And, yes, maybe it would be worthwhile for a crayfish biologist to do some review here (or an Ontario fish biologist ‘managing’ the introduced coho in the Great Lakes…). How does the old saying go: “if you always do what you’ve always done — you’ll always get what you always got”… Or paraphrasing Einstein: “insanity is defined by doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result…

    Last time I checked there were also salmon in many other parts of the world without any connection to DFO or PSC — Russia, Japan, US, Atlantic coast, etc. Or how about getting someone like Dr. Daniel Pauly from UBC to do some review of the issues, he doesn’t seem to have a problem calling a spade a spade… (or as mentioned in today’s post… if these are simply literature reviews, then why not get some fresh, keen Masters’ students or otherwise to compile the research…?)

    However, the point wasn’t necessarily to question ethics, professional conduct, and so on — simply shining a light into dark places, or into the crevice that no one either looked or wanted to look into (and sometimes these sorts of things are exposed or confirmed by angry reactions, or cries of ‘foul’ from those suddenly within the dusty light beam…)

    Your reaction to the ‘secret society’ might be a bit more elevated than required… as mentioned in my previous comment, it’s quite ‘tongue in cheek’ — however effective at raising the point… maybe?. You ask a fair question: “People working together, sharing ideas to get something done and exchanging knowledge….Is that a bad thing?”

    Well yes… and … no.

    If you’re a stock investor, this is sometimes called “insider trading” — and that’s bad; illegal actually. (however, it happens often… how’s the old saying go about a few bad apples?)

    If you’re working on a cure for cancer — well then it can be a good thing. However, does this mean that every cancer-cure-researcher is ethically perfect and that there isn’t some shady practices going on in securing big research grants? — i’m guessing shady shtuff goes on… it’s human.

    Some folks may not even have sat back and thought about where their research dollars are coming from and how it dictates their decisions.
    This happens to enviros all the time. Almost all enviro groups have to become “foundation puppies” to a certain degree. Every year they have to shape and mold their proposals to fit the goals and objectives of the foundations. There aren’t very many foundations or donors out there that simply suggest “here Dr. Suzuki, here’s $10 million spend it as you please…”

    Maybe… but not very likely or frequent.

    Is a University going to support research and activism on forestry — if one of its main forestry dept. funders is the BC logging stalwart: Macmillan Bloedel… or… Canfor…?

    It was clear in the recent testimony of Laura Richards at the Cohen Commission and some of the communications surrounding research in DFO — that that ministry muzzles scientists. It happens often in many government ministries… Not sure if you’re familiar with provincial grizzly bear scientist D. De Leeuw. that was muzzled for saying the grizzly bear hunt had to be minimized (this was a few years back…).

    It happened in the northern cod collapse and it’ll happen again…
    Or what about when governments make things up like weapons of mass destruction in certain countries to justify a raid…?

    It’s not necessarily about corruption or shady practices… sometimes it’s about open disclosure. Investment firms have to do it all the time in the stock market world. If there isn’t open disclosure and open communication about potential ‘perceived’ conflicts of interest — then it’s open for questioning, and I don’t think it does any harm to ask.

    The simple response is: “thank-you for asking, and fair point — however NO, and here’s why…”

    There’s no need for any great drama or displays of being offended at the mere suggestion of ‘perceived’ conflicts… or the assertion that we go to bake sales and bottle drives to eliminate even the ‘perception’ of conflict. I’ve said it before and will say it again: conflict is where the real work gets done… not during the nice, nice good times.

    The analogy I often use is: getting fit. One does not get fit, by simply lifting a couple cans of beans and walking to the toilet… one gets fit by making it hurt a little, by getting a burn, by bringing the body into conflict; conflict between carrying on through the pain vs. the no-pain threshold (within reason). You know the old saying here…

    Conflict is good (like everything… within reason… it’s like salt… or beer… or taxes, for that sake). (look what it did for the federal NDP…)

    Brian, my friend, if my Ford analogy is lame (granted it was in jest), your ‘professional code of conduct’ ain’t all that strong either. Politicians take an oath when they take office, however, there’s no shortage of them that have forgotten that oath. And if you’ve ever gone through the process of filing a complaint in any of these bodies… well… it’s not much different than the police investigating themselves… (see no evil, hear no evil). Maybe there’s examples of decent reviews… however no shortage that didn’t go anywhere…

    And again, that’s not really the point being raised here. And no accusations were made here — again simply shining light on potentials, and maybes and so on.

    With your point: “In some cases you may be correct and that cannot be judged fairly from the outside unless you know the particulars…”
    And so does this mean that only folks with inside knowledge are fit to “judge”…? hmmmm.

    I think this is exactly the snootiness being referred to in kd’s comment…
    The number of times in my short lifetime it’s been explained to me that I simply just don’t understand or won’t be able to unless i’m a member of the club (aka biologist, scientist, etc.) is quite remarkable.

    If you’ve seen the movie “Fight Club” you know the first rule…

    I won’t even get into the issue of DFO and First Nations and fisheries funding — that’s a book. Let’s just say it’s akin to 21st century colonialism… i’ve often asked the question: “if the intentions of DFO and the federal government are so good, then why not hand any First Nation fisheries funding to a third party (e.g. Foundation, or otherwise) to administer and distribute?”

    Not to mention if the intentions are so great then why does the Department of Justice and DFO continue to assert in the Supreme Courts of provinces and Canada that aboriginal rights and title are non-existent, and that the idea that First Nations traded fish pre-contact is ludicrous and a falsity? That doesn’t sound very “fiduciary” (trust-like) to me… that sounds like a stark contradiction… here’s some money to count fish for us, but you don’t have any rights… hmmm.

    And yes, environmental consultants are called up on to work for gov agencies — and sometimes some of those same consultants are also called upon to do “independent” investigations and audits like the Marine Stewardship Council, or Forest Practices Board, or other enviro audits. And these same consultants also work for industry, mining, forestry, etc.

    That’s the problem — who do you think pays more and gives more stability. Well… government isn’t going anywhere soon — it’s a pretty stable client. Things like the MSC and FPB come and go…

    it’s a twisted little world… however open disclosure often works wonders… “perception” is a dangerous thing. Sure we like to tout innocent until proven guilty… but perception is king (or queen).

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