The federal Conservative government is putting the interests of large corporations ahead of fishermen in Atlantic Canada, maintains Liberal Fisheries and Oceans Critic Lawrence MacAulay.
The veteran MP, who represents the eastern PEI riding of Cardigan, said changes that may impact the ability of fishers to collect employment insurance are just the latest salvo in a prolonged attack.
“The government is taking quota from the fishermen in order to pay for scientific research that is the responsibility of the Government of Canada,” he said. “It is gutting the Fisheries Act and habitat protection.”
The Liberal MP said four former federal fisheries ministers (Conservatives Tom Siddon and John Fraser and Liberals David Anderson and Herb Dhaliwal) have spoken out against proposed changes to the Fisheries Act contained in the budget omnibus bill.
“Why is the government kowtowing to the large corporate sector and taking everything it possibly can from the fishermen who work so hard for their living?” he said recently in the House of Commons.
MacAulay said he shares the concerns of hard working fishers that “this government is trying its best to take everything away from them.” He added “Whether it’s E.I., the talk of removing the fleet separation and owner-operator policies, or the complete gutting of the Fisheries Act and habitat protection, the many massive changes this government is making are going to devastate this country’s fisheries and the men and women who make their living on the sea.”