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One year after the new Fisheries Act, Canada has yet to act on troubled fisheries

By Trevor Taylor and Susanna Fuller      

Unless decision-makers—from the minister of fisheries and oceans and her office to managers of individual fisheries—are all on the same page, with marching orders to do the right thing, our water bodies will continue to be emptied of fish, our coastal communities will become less and less resilient, and our work to strengthen the legal foundations of fisheries management will be meaningless.

Canada's federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan , pictured in this file photograph on the Hill. But despite the new Fisheries Act, we have yet to see long-term needs win out over what’s politically convenient in the short term. Public trust can only be restored if there are clear decisions, often hard ones, made in the interests of a future in Canada that includes fish, write Trevor Taylor and Susanna Fuller. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

“A disaster of biblical proportions.” That’s what Richard Cashin, then-president of the Fish Food and Allied Workers Union, said in 1992 when a fishing moratorium was announced on Newfoundland and Labrador’s once-great northern cod stock. Some 20,000 people were suddenly out of work, and within 18 months, almost every groundfish stock from the border with the U.S. to the north coast of Labrador was shut down. Yet while the disaster seemed sudden, the warning signs were there for years: catches were kept much higher than was scientifically recommended, with politicians and managers saying publicly that they were doing so to protect the short-term economics of communities. Some of these communities, and the fish populations they once depended on, still haven’t recovered.

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Feds strike working groups to tackle delayed MMIWG action plan

Groups say they're pleased to see Ottawa picking up the pace, while the Ontario Native Women’s Association says its exclusion 'makes zero sense' and means some women will fall through the cracks in the conversation.

Co-managed approach, self-governing fisheries the answer to long-simmering lobster dispute, says Senator

The Conservative, NDP, and Green Party critics all say the federal government has failed to act to address tensions.

New Senate art display is the first ever to feature Black artists

Manitoba Senator Patricia Bovey is pushing to see more diversity represented in the art hanging throughout the building the Upper Chamber calls home, calling the new display the ‘first iteration’ of those efforts.

Senate committee approves $460,000 budget for 11-member progressive group

The powerful Internal Economy Committee also agreed to move some procurement discussions from behind closed doors in a bid to be more transparent about its contracts.

Feds trumpet uncertain WTO reform to protect Canada from trade whims of superpowers

News|By Neil Moss
The efforts of the Ottawa Group were part of just a select few foreign policy priorities mentioned during the Throne Speech, ahead of a 'disappointing' move by the U.S. to appeal a WTO softwood lumber ruling.

Canada’s pandemic spending ‘barely sustainable,’ says PBO, projecting $328.5-billion deficit

News|By Palak Mangat
New PBO figures do not capture the possibility of any new government programs, and work off the assumption that there will be a 'gradual' relaxing of public health restrictions within the next 12 to 18 months.

‘Words alone will not be enough’: Black caucus, community cautiously optimistic about feds’ Throne Speech pledges

News|By Beatrice Paez
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard says she had hoped the speech would have made specific references to the development of a Black-Canadian justice strategy.

‘It’s much lonelier’: MPs talk about doing politics in the age of the pandemic

News|By Abbas Rana
MPs from all parties are also watching the provincial election in British Columbia carefully to learn how to run a campaign in the midst of a pandemic.

Committee should study proposed changes to election rules to prepare for future vote, say MPs

News|By Palak Mangat
'What better time to innovate your election system than during a pandemic? Because you're going to have to start thinking outside of the regular way,' says Stéphanie Plante, who has worked with Elections Canada.
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