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.
.
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.

 

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

  1. kd

    I totally agree Salmon Guy. This latest piece of garbage from DFO must rank very high on the all time list of ‘bumpf’ as you call it.

    The draft policy, plan, or whatever this ‘statement of intent’ is basically says DFO has moved to become an even more indsutry focussed facilitator. This is amazing stuff since it would be hard to be more pro-business for DFO previously…but it appears they have found a way.
    80,000 people…out of 33 million: that is a pretty small percentage of the population to get primary, almost monopolistic access to a supposed public resource like fish.

    Getting sick and tired of DFO lately…every aspect of what they do is contrary to their mandate. Cohen Commission needs to recommend a total revamp, re-org, or brand new start for this moribund agency.

    If Cohen doesnt demand this then the Public should.
    kd

  2. Pingback: Salmon Guy » Blog Archive » ‘absence of evidence must be evidence of absence’… when it comes to ancient knowledge of fisheries?

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