The final week of the federal election campaign is underway and the Mirror polled the candidates for vancouver Island North riding for their opinion on aquaculture.
Do you support aquaculture? Why or why not?
Jason Draper – Independent Party of Canada:
Of course I support aquaculture, but that in no way means that I would look at the industry in a static manner. My understanding is that the industry is working hard to make sure it is sustainable, with as little footprint on the environment as possible. However, I also have some information that things are not going as well as they could, concerning the environment. For that reason, I would encourage those involved to bring to the table issues that are stopping them from better environmental management. First and foremost, of course, would be the economy, which forces all industry to cut and slash wherever possible in order not just to make a profit, but in many cases just to pay the bills. For this reason, I am encouraging the people of Vancouver Island North to take a close look at MPE (Mathematical Perfected Economy), which upon implementation, would instantly liquidate the industry by as much as 12 times simply by eliminating compound interest, removing the obfuscation of the currency, issuing loans equal to the capital improvements they are for, and thus further improving the economy by totally eliminating inflation and deflation.
John Duncan – Conservative Party of Canada:
In terms of aquaculture, I support both traditional wild fisheries and a sustainable aquaculture industry, both of which are important to our coastal communities. Aquaculture plays an important role in creating and supporting jobs in Vancouver Island North. A re-elected Conservative government will continue to support aquaculture that is strictly regulated and operating transparently. Our Conservative government has invested over $70 million to improve environmental monitoring and science.
As of December 2010, regulatory oversight of the aquaculture sector was transferred to the federal government. There are strong rules that must be enforced fairly. It is very early to judge results of these new regulations or enforcement. Under the Fisheries Act, federal regulations will govern certain activities regarding the cultivation of fish in British Columbia. The province will continue to issue tenures where operations take place in either the marine or freshwater environment, license marine plant cultivation, and manage business aspects of aquaculture such as work place health and safety. It will be important for the sustainability of the aquaculture industry that they follow the rules and find ways to innovate in order to maintain a social license to operate.
Mike Holland – Liberal Party of Canada:
I do support the aquaculture industry. It is already an important source of jobs in our community, particularly in regions where jobs are desperately needed. While we need and value these jobs, we must also ensure we safeguard our wild fishery, which also supports many industries and jobs from the commercial fishery to recreational fishing and tourism.
We need to take a science-based approach that objectively examines the impact of farming on the wild fishery, and be prepared to follow where the science takes us.
Ronna-Rae Leonard – New Democratic Party:
Yes! Aquaculture provides important jobs in our community. There’s a strong future in aquaculture and we have unique conditions here to make it thrive and create jobs.
For salmon aqualculture, New Democrats are committed to ensuring long-term sustainable jobs by transitioning to closed containment systems. This protects both jobs and wild salmon.
I am also deeply committed to shellfish aquaculture. That’’s one reason why I am calling for a stronger environmental assessment of the proposed coal mine in Comox Valley, which could put hundreds of jobs in the shellfish industry at risk. New Democrats will work with industry, workers, First Nations and municipalities to ensure that Vancouver Island North enjoys a strong, vibrant and sustainable aquaculture industry.
Sue Moen – Green Party:
I support the workers in aquaculture and will demonstrate that by working to provide any necessary income and retraining supports while requiring the industry to make the transition to land-based operations. The Precautionary Principle, which Canada signed onto, demands that we remove any possible threats to our wild salmon and the marine ecosystems. More than 50,000 British Columbian jobs depend on a healthy ocean environment. The Green Party realizes that moving to land will take time, however, that move must begin immediately and we think pens should be fallowed on migratory routes while the industry transitions. A fully-funded Fisheries and Oceans Canada, whose mandate includes marine protection, monitoring and enforcement, and research and precludes promotion, will ensure industry is free to pursue innovative, sustainable and profitable operations while public confidence in the Ministry is restored.
Marxist-Leninist Party candidate Frank Martin could not be reached for his response.