Trade deals have clear risks for fisheries

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As indicated by a recent published report, there are many concerns over the Conservative government’s upcoming free trade agreements, such as the Canada EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and how they will affect our Atlantic fisheries.

Some of the major concerns outlined in the paper are the potential elimination of minimum fish processing requirements and the protection of Canadian fishing licences, including the owner-operator and fleet separation policies.

While there very well may be benefits for the industry in these trade deals, such as the opening of markets and the removal of tariffs on our seafood products, we have significant concerns about what the government has put on the negotiating table that could negatively affect Canada’s inshore fisheries and Atlantic coastal communities. The Harper government must come clean on its secret negotiations.

The benefits of our Atlantic fisheries cannot be allowed to flow out of the hands of our local communities and fishers and into the hands of massive multi-national corporations who have Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield in their back pocket.

While the government has stated that it will keep policies such as fleet separation and owner-operator in place for now, there is no doubt that their previous disastrous communications and consultation approach with regard to the modernization of our inshore fishery created fear and uncertainty throughout Eastern Canada.

Industry protections go against the principles of free trade deals in the works such as CETA and the Trans Pacific Partnership.  The Conservatives must not be allowed to use these trade agreements to slip the elimination of policies which preserve Atlantic Canadian jobs, benefits and independence through the back door.

 

Lawrence MacAulay

fisheries and oceans critic

Liberal Party of Canada

Organizations: Trans Pacific Partnership, Conservatives, Party of Canada

Geographic location: Canada, Atlantic, Eastern Canada.Industry

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  • Rex Murphy of CBC Cross Country Checkup Radio Program, we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians demand a show on how CETA will affect the remainder of the fish quotas in our waters.
    January 29, 2013 - 09:30

    When is Rex Murphy going to devote a Cross Country Checkup Program to the fish resource of Newfoundland and Labrador and how it has been deciminated since it ended under Ottawa's jurisdiction? According to experts there are less than 10 per cent of the biomass of the fish existing because of the pressure put on the resource by Canada in its quest to garner International Trade Contracts to sell off the surplus agriculture and manufactured goods it allowed to be produced in Canada over the past 40 years?

  • Premier Dunderdale and Company we want answers on where you stand on CETA
    January 25, 2013 - 11:55

    Premier Dunderdale we need you to speak to your electorate and tell us what you or anyone before you have agreed to in the proposed upcoming CETA agreement which could be ratified at any time and could be detrimental to our province. As Mr. Lawrence MacAuley, Fisheries and Oceans critic for the Liberal Party of Canada stated in his letter today to the Telegram "The benefits of our Atlantic fisheries cannot be allowed to flow out of the hands of our local communities and fishers and into the hands of massive multi-national corporations who have Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield in their back pocket". Right Now, We Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want to be assured that you nor any other Premier prior to you has given Prime Minister Harper free will to do what ever he desires with the fish quotas that Newfoundland and Labrador brought into Canada in order to secure Trade Deals for other parts of Canada, while allowing your own province to suffer. The fish nursery on the Grand Banks or Newfoundland and the waters around hold a resource that cannot have a value placed on it, it is priceless. We just know it is a coveted and renewable resource that contains many fish species; the sky is the limit to what its value will be in the future if it is taken care of properly.