Beware the “weak kneed skeptics” that criticize the gutting of Canada’s Fisheries Act – what a sham

What…?! fish don’t actually need habitat in a ‘conservative’ world…

The undoubted sign of a society well under control or in decline is that language has ceased to be a means of communication and has become instead a shield for those who master it…”   -John Ralston Saul, Canadian thinker.

Wow, where did these folks come from…(see photo above)? …Oh, wait, I think I can tell you… but i’ll leave that to my inside voice.

Let the gutting of Canada as you know it… Begin.

Maybe the Harper Conservatives/Reform didn’t watch the crash and burn of Danielle Smith’s girls gone Wild-rose party earlier this week in Alberta.

Even Canada’s “heartland” folks that some might say lean towards the right side of the spectrum and maybe a little tinge of crimson on the back of the neck… were not ready for ‘gays will die in hellfire’ and ‘white folks make better candidates’-type comments coming from folks wanting to be elected to government in AB.

…And a leader that said “gee, shucks, that’s just their personal views, don’t worry those won’t affect their politics…”

Or…maybe… just maybe… was it a crash and burn, or, simply completely blown polling results… who’s to know really…

But then we have Harper and his crew.

Take the picture above, straight off the “Fisheries and Oceans Canada” website: Harper Government Commits to the Responsible Protection and Conservation of Canada’s Fisheries.

The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced that the Harper government will introduce changes to protect the productivity of recreational, commercial and Aboriginal fisheries. This means focusing protection rules on real and significant threats to these fisheries and the habitat that supports them while setting clear standards and guidelines for routine projects.

And there it is… a point made many times on this salmonguy site… The Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans has the mandate to conserve and protect fish and fish habitat.

NOT… “responsible protection and conservation of Canada’s fisheries”…

Someone… pardon the pun… is missing the boat.

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From the Vancouver Sun yesterday:

Fisheries Act changes introduced amid debate over new law’s intent

OTTAWA — The Harper government unveiled a massive omnibus budget implementation bill Thursday that includes Fisheries Act amendments that will strip the term “habitat” from the most crucial section of the law.The government’s intent, according to a spokeswoman, to assist “everyday Canadians” in their dealings with federal fisheries bureaucrats.

And the official said allegations that the government is giving in to demands from energy and mining lobbyists are false.

“These are changes being made in our department that are designed to help Canadians — everyday Canadians: landowners, municipalities, farmers – be able to undertake activities on their properties without obtrusive interference by our department,” said Erin Filliter, spokeswoman for Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield.

Hmmm… interesting…  this is about everyday Canadians… says Ash-field.

But… but… I thought it was about “Responsible Protection and Conservation of Canada’s Fisheries

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The Vancouver Sun the day before yesterday:

Minister admits Fisheries Act changes could help speed project approvals

The quote in the first paragraph from the article cracks me up:
The federal government’s planned overhaul of the Fisheries Act may reduce the regulatory burden companies such as Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. face in getting approval for major projects, Fisheries Minister Keith Ash-field said Tuesday.
Yes, that’s not a typo on my part, it’s a direct quote… He’s Mr. Ash-field… hmmm. someone trying to say something at the Sun…?

But Ashfield rejected opposition accusations that the federal government’s plan for a “more sensible and practical” Fisheries Act was a result of corporate pressure from the energy and mining sectors. “It certainly hasn’t influenced me in any way shape or form. I have never sat down with [or] had any discussions with Enbridge,” he said in an interview.

Ashfield said farmers, municipalities and even some conservation groups in Canada support the government plan to shift regulatory enforcement focus away from general fish habitat and toward specific fish and fish habitat that are of “vital” importance to the recreational, commercial and aboriginal fisheries.

Oh yea… what about scientists, researchers, and streamkeeper groups? What about the 100,000 plus or so BC’ers that spend time cleaning creeks and streams and looking after fish and fish habitat?

Ashfield drew attention to groups outside the mining and energy sectors backing the changes, including the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.

What horseshit, last time I checked, Ducks Unlimited wasn’t really a fish conservation organization…  doesn’t it work on protecting wetlands so that there’s more ducks to potentially shoot…?

And of course the federation of municipalities is going to go for it…

The bullshit that elected officials will spew out in the name of marketing and PR is astounding.

But Ashfield acknowledged his proposals could reduce Enbridge’s requirements under Fisheries Act habitat protection rules for the estimated 1,000 waterways its Northern Gateway pipeline will cross. “It could be determined that some of these waterways may not necessarily be vital waterways,” Ashfield said.

The government announcement stressed that the current fisheries law, which bans activity that results in the “harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat,” has been too broadly enforced.

Too “broadly enforced”!?

Show me all the frigging fines and convictions then.

You can’t, because there were only two in 2008.

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The Globe and Mail also ran an article on this issue the other day:

Tories to overhaul Fisheries Act

…But critics argue the government is looking to reduce the regulatory burden on energy and mining companies, and the changes will jeopardize rivers, streams and lakes that are part of broad and important ecosystems.

“This announcement does indicate an intention to compromise for some of Canada’s lakes, rivers and streams – whichever the government officials deem to be not vital,” said Lara Tessaro, staff lawyer with the Vancouver-based EcoJustice group.

“In the context of environmental protection, it is a really bizarre approach to have government officials handpick which lakes are not important. … What fish need to survive is healthy and productive habitats, from spawning grounds to rearing grounds to habitats for their entire food chain.”

Ms. Tessaro added that the legislative amendments are unnecessary if all the government wants to do is streamline the process for minor development projects, because they are covered by policy guidelines that could be easily changed.

Great, we’re going to have salmon and other fish habitat decisions made by ‘elected’ officials in Ottawa. Yup, those elected officials that come with a great breadth of knowledge about fish and fish habitat… (in Ottawa). Just like the Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure…

…real solid fish habitat folks those ones…

This is a sham.

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See it’s language like this article out of the Globe and Mail that sum up the current governing regime:

Blasting ‘weak-kneed’ skeptics, Tories fan out to plug EU trade deal

The Harper government’s PR machine will be working overtime Friday as 40 per cent of the Conservative cabinet fans out across the country to shore up support for a free trade deal with the European Union.

Fifteen cabinet ministers, three MPs and a senator will stage 18 separate events throughout Canada to play up the benefits of further opening this country’s markets to the 27-member EU bloc.

Interesting, I thought we were in a time of great cutbacks and savings…?

Public servants and ministries are being hacked and slashed in the name of smaller government… and yet: “Fifteen cabinet ministers, three MPs and a senator will stage 18 separate events throughout Canada to play up the benefits of further opening this country’s markets to the 27-member EU bloc.”

Sounds like wise spending to me… better get out there and replace all those “weak knees”…

Oh no wait… Health care spending is also in the works…

The Conservatives kicked off the public relations campaign Friday morning with an Ottawa speech by International Trade Minister Ed Fast to the Economic Club of Canada.

“Trade is not for skeptics or scoffers. It’s not for the weak-kneed or faint of heart,” Mr. Fast told his business audience.

Who are these people in power?

Oh wait, I know…

The article on trade concludes:

The Tories can’t really complain of obstructionism in Parliament by the NDP now that the Harper government controls the Commons and, effectively, the Senate.

The Tories can use their majority powers – 166 seats – to limit and curb debate on any bill they want passed.

Nothing like bullies in power that love public relations campaign and the great spin machine.

Can only sit and watch the dismantling and then the nosedive and faceflop in the next election as Harper’s recent nosedive in the polls show.

Harper’s brand hits ‘new low’ amid robo-call, F-35 scandals: poll

As his beloved Ministers continue to be embroiled in conflict of interest scandals, spending scandals, lying about true costs of fighter jet scandals, etc… What’s next for the ‘Blue’ men group?

(And yet all of this shenanigan-ing on the Fisheries Act carrying on while Justice Cohen still deliberates on the Fraser sockeye situation… glad to see that Harper and the gang have essentially written off that $20 million process…)

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