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Letter: Ottawa’s hypocrisy and the loss of N.L.’s fishing culture

Fishing boats at St. John’s harbour Wednesday. Many fishermen are doubtful owner-operator and fleet separation policies can be enforced enough to be effective.
Fishing boats in St. John’s.

The prime minister recently recognized Canada’s wrongs against human rights to native peoples, First Nations and now LGBTQ2 — as well he and Canada should.

It can be seen that another segment of our Canadian society, the coastal fisherpeople of Newfoundland and Labrador, whose roots are unique and go back 500 years, have suffered and been denied the right to fish our resources since N.L. joined Confederation in 1949.

The fisherpeople of N.L., if not native, are original founding peoples of North America. The first white settlers were these fisherpeople in the 1550s in Bristol’s Hope. Our groundfishery was given away to foreign nations and its renewing biomass not managed because of an attitude of arrogant authority whose main goal is usurping its economic value for the power and position of the Canadian government on the world stage.

These facts are not just a story in history, this is active now, ongoing every day, in 2017. This abuse and destruction of the world’s greatest unique renewable fishery sadly has caused the loss of N.L.’s great fishing culture. Forty-thousand fisheries jobs gone from our beautiful province, and 90,000 people have had to move away in order to support their families.

These are the facts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. You are the leader of our country, your actions and speeches speak to the ideologies of Canadian values, purporting — for one — to be concerned for the human rights of people, not just for Canadians but also for people of the world. But this rings hollow and false to me for one, and for many more in our province, because Canadian governments have, and your government has, abandoned its responsibility of protecting our fishery from the world.

You and your government, no doubt, may be many things to yourselves and to some Canadians, such as leaders, officials and honourable members who work for the well-being and protection of the citizens of Canada. But you are hypocrites to the coastal people of N.L. Your claim of being concerned for the human rights of peoples of other nations of the world is false, proven by the fact of how you and your government have allowed and been the cause of destroying the fishing culture of N.L. How can you be concerned for the rights of people in other nations when you’re not concerned for the rights of people in your own country?


Phil Earle


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