ELECTION 2015: Five candidates in Chilliwack-Hope weigh in on the subject of wild salmon

Question #1 in the Progress election series looks at impacts of the Fraser River closure to sockeye fishing for conservation reasons

The Progress kicks off a 2015 Federal Election editorial series today

The Progress kicks off a 2015 Federal Election editorial series today

The CHILLIWACK Progress kicks off a 2015 Federal Election editorial series today, centred on questions that zero in on what matters to people in Chilliwack-Hope. The following first question was fired off last week to all candidates:

“The mighty Fraser River is closed now to sockeye fishing of all kinds in part because of high in-river temperatures and conservation concerns. Describe the impact this is currently having on Chilliwack-Hope. What do you envision doing, if elected, to ensure the federal government is taking adequate measures to preserve and protect iconic salmon runs of the Fraser River for all British Columbians?”

 

Green Party candidate Thomas Cheney’s answer:

The management of salmon is by no means a simple task, but climate change, habitat loss and poor fisheries management, such as bottom trawling, is making an already challenging situation more difficult. Our rivers used to be so full of salmon that old timers describe being able to use fish to walk across rivers. Salmon are essential to many of the life forms we share this area with, even providing a significant boost of fertilizer for forests. The loss of salmon is affecting tourism and food security for residents, particularly first nation communities.

As an MP, I would first reverse the legislation passed by the Conservatives that removes fish habitat protection, a policy designed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Secondly, I would work to transition the fishery from destructive large-scale fishing techniques to stock-selective techniques such as fish wheels. I would also ensure that forest management does not degrade salmon habitat by applying ecological forestry practices. The Green Party would also work on restoring key habitat areas and ensure that hydroelectric development does not cause loss of salmon habitat. Finally, I would fight to phase out salmon aquaculture ocean feedlots and take action on climate change, two major threats facing Pacific salmon.

 

NDP candidate Seonaigh MacPherson’s answer:

We mark our year by the life of salmon: the appearance of spring salmon; later, First Nations’ fishing camps; late summer fly fishers; and spawning salmon in fall. Integral to our local economy, salmon are a major food source for First Nations and a primary tourist product of the region, all of which are now threatened.

After Conservatives cut over $1B of DFO’s budget since 2006, in August, Mark Strahl doles out $313,000 and Harper bequeaths $15M for BC salmon in shameless attempts to win votes.

As your NDP Member of Parliament, I commit to advocate for the interests of salmon through:

(1) Climate Change Action: The NDP committed to implement a cap-and-trade on carbon; invest in renewable energy; and reduce emissions to 34% below 1990 levels by 2025.

(2) Scientific-Environmental Oversight and Enforcement: The NDP will restore independent public oversight, supported by a Parliamentary Science Officer, and rigorous environmental assessments to establish quotas and industry risk levels to inform decision-making to protect both fish and human populations.

(3) Local Consultation: I will continue to support and consult local organizations involved in protecting our local rivers and salmon, such as Sto:lo, FVSS, and WaterWealth.

 

Conservative candidate Mark Strahl’s answer:

While we have seen record returns of Fraser River sockeye salmon in the last five years, any time that the Fraser River is closed to fishing there is a significant impact on the local sports fishing industry as well as on area First Nations who rely on the salmon for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

When I was the Chair of the BC/Yukon Conservative Caucus, I helped spearhead the effort to provide 100 per cent of the revenues collected through the Salmon Conservation Stamp to the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF), so that they could expand on the great work that they do in preserving and enhancing salmon habitat.

Prime Minister Harper has recently announced a re-elected Conservative government will provide an additional $15 million to the PSF to restore and preserve salmon habitat across the province of BC.

Locally, our Conservative Government has made significant investments in fisheries habitat restoration and protection on the Vedder River, Cheam Lake and Browne Creek Wetlands to name just a few.  We also recently announced major infrastructure upgrades for the Cultus Lake DFO Laboratory.

These investments and initiatives will help ensure that our precious BC salmon resource is protected and preserved for future generations.

 

Liberal candidate Louis De Jaeger’s answer:

The implications of salmon returning in 2015 and in future years are unclear. Chilliwack-Hope’s direct economic spinoff of non-Aboriginal economies are based on a vibrant sports fishery including hotels, restaurants and tourism. We also have a cultural and economic Aboriginal food fishery that includes commercial, social and ceremonial harvest.

In 2009, The Harper Government established the Cohen Commission to look into declining Sockeye stocks in the Fraser River. Still in 2015, the results continue to be ignored particularly in light of its enormous cost to taxpayers ($26 million resulting in 75 recommendations). Neither the NDP, or the Conservative Party have included the Cohen Commission as part of their election platforms.

In 2014 I attended my Candidate Training in Ottawa, and participated in the Liberal Caucus. At that time I specified that the Fraser River salmon have always been a source of food, wealth, and trade to our region. The fish are intricately tied to the continued existence of Indigenous peoples in this area, as well as many species of birds and animals. I am proud to say that a Liberal Government will implement the recommendations of the Cohen Commission, (www.cohencommission.ca), and I will continue to champion this cause.

 

Libertarian candidate Alexander Johnson’s answer:

This is a question for someone more qualified to provide you with something worth while than a Politician. If you’re looking to see if I’m knowledgeable on the subject, no I’m not.

Still, this is an easy question to answer. I would allow the Municipal and Provincial Government’s to work out a solution that they are much better at making – or should be if we trust them. Why pay someone else to make a decision that we can better make for ourselves?

Regardless of your belief of what the source is, rising temperatures is something we must deal with. Environment is important. Quality of life is important. We need to find balance. As technology grows exponentially we have to learn on the fly. I don’t have an answer for you that is going to convince you I should be able to make that decision for anyone. But I don’t think a Federal Watchdog will either.

Allowing a Federal Government who has all the Canadian rivers to pick from doesn’t mean it’s the best for British Columbia and more specifically Chilliwack and Hope. We have the tools available to deal with these issues more efficiently and effectively – and without a Federal Shield to protect them – with more accountability.

 

 

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read