Harper Government Doesn’t Care About Sustainability

Big changes and lots of cuts are coming in the Conservative government’s budget implementation bill. Among the cuts the Harper Conservatives are making to oversight in many government departments are cuts to the Federal Fisheries Act which many, including former Tory ministers, actively oppose.

It will be difficult for the Prime Minister to cast these remarks aside as coming from leftist radicals, as he usually does with dissenting voices, though the Environment Minister has tried.

Focus on industry, not enironment

The main problem with the changes is the focus on the fishery as industry rather than fish as part of an ecosystem. As with many other changes contained in the government’s budget bill, the changes to the Fisheries Act will give final discretion on any decision to the minister, who is decidedly not a scientist (Keith Ashfield studied business before becoming a politician, though he does happen to be from the Maritimes and his official biography makes sure to mention that he has fished). The bill also includes changes to the Species at Risk Act limiting the waterways protected by the act.

The changes to the Fisheries Act move the focus from fish habitats (and any activity that harms a habitat) to the fish themselves and their value to the market; as it’s phrased in the bill no person shall conduct activity that could cause “serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fisheries, or to fish that support such a fishery.Ē

No mention of how these fish fit into the ecosystem as a whole and how damage to fish or habitats of fish that are not “part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal” fishery would be viewed.

Canada has seen issues with sustainability of the fishery in the past, which has led to economic disparity in the Atlantic region compared to the rest of the country. The budget bill also includes changes to Employment Insurance that may negatively impact seasonal workers; these changes have led people to accuse Harper of being biased against the East Coast.

The government has also eliminated the positions of 27 biologists working with the Freshwater Institute’s Experimental Lakes program, which was studying the effects of pollutants on freshwater ecosystems. These biologists have spent years testing the effects of various pollutants on small lakes and pushing for change across the continent based on their results.

Related Stories:

The Bottom Line: Little Fish, Big Fishery

Hundreds of Southeast Fish Species Protected Thanks to You!

New Yearís Resolution 2012: Letís Gain Weight in the Ocean

Photo Credit: Virginia Sea Grant


Rob W.
Rob Watson5 years ago

I can honestly say that I have a profound hatred for this Goof he is a Criminal he has absolutely no Integrity at all and how he retains power I cannot understand. He is Pathetic and needs to GO! and soon before he kills us all.

Delaine Buksa
Delaine Buksa5 years ago

This is something I've always known. I'm utterly clueless as to why we elected him in the first place.

Mike and Janis B.
Janis B5 years ago

Please folk this Harper regime does not speak to Canadian ideals, he is criminally stupid, pity there isn't a court in the Hague to try people like him who condemn us all to an unspeakable future. He is just greedy and all his henchmen to an unbelievable degree, lots of Canadians utterly despise them.

Nancy Crouse
Nancy Crouse5 years ago

MONEY MONEY MONEY! That's all they care about!

Robin R.
Robin R5 years ago

So frustrating to constantly read negative posts about Canada. I hope everyone knows that just because our government is money hungry and not remotely concerned about animal welfare or our impact on the environment does not mean that all Canadians feel that way. Some of us are fighting FOR a better world and for the protection of ALL inhabitants of our beautiful land. (read Liz's post below - she says it better than I can.) I just wish that those who have the power to make changes for the better would listen to the rest of us instead of focusing on the voices behind their paychecks - big oil.

Desiree Reid
Desiree Reid5 years ago

This DIS-honorable idiot is ALL about $$ and could give a rat's ass about ANYthing to do with the environment! The Canadian people are AGAINST the seal "hunt', yet he still wants to raise the quotas for the mass murdering of baby seals! There are NO protections for polar bears or any bears! Not that the US is better because we suck too but the petition is about the Canadian government.

m Shiel
M s5 years ago

it's all about money and bribes Don't let anyone convince you otherwise or you are a fool

John R.
John R5 years ago

The Harper Gov't only cares about itself and its' friends and we're not in that club

Nicole McIntyre
Nicole McIntyre5 years ago

Man I am so worried about our planet and Harper will not do shit about it!!!!!!

Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

Harper is a pathetic dictator who is deep in the pockets of big oil.