The following transcript is protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
Kootenay Co-op Radio CJLY
Nelson, B.C. Canada
May 13, 2010
Title: Rally for Wild Salmon - "Fish Farms Out" (Norway, British Columbia VI)
Producer/Host: Jon Steinman
Transcript: Jacob Mierzejewski
Jon Steinman: Welcome to Deconstructing Dinner - a syndicated weekly radio show and podcast produced in Nelson, British Columbia at Kootenay Co-op Radio CJLY. I'm Jon Steinman and today we descend onto the grounds of the Legislature in the British Columbia capital of Victoria where one of the largest rally's of its kind took place on May 8th, 2010 organized by a coalition of groups calling for the many salmon farms scattered throughout the BC coastline to be removed in order to protect wild salmon.
Between April 21st and May 8th Alexandra Morton - a vocal opponent of salmon farms and a frequent guest here on the show, travelled from the community of Echo Bay in the Broughton Archipelago and on foot migrated south down Vancouver Island where hundreds of supporters joined her as they approached the BC Legislature.
Deconstructing Dinner was in Victoria for the rally and on the show today we listen in on the sounds and voices of the event including Alexandra Morton herself, Chief Bob Chamberlin chairman of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Penticton Indian Band and President of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs, Darrin Blaney - the former Chief of the Homalco First Nation, Rafe Mair - former politician and radio personality, Vicki Husband - a long-time advocate for protecting wild spaces throughout BC, Billy Proctor - a long-time commercial fisherman, and Fin Donnelly - the Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Coquitlam, Port Moody.
sounds of a rally, Aboriginal chanting/music
Vicky Husband: This is the biggest rally bringing First Nations, environmental groups, citizens and everybody that we have ever seen on an issue like this.
cheering noises from crowd and Aboriginal chanting/music
Chief Bob Chamberlin: And it is that territory that our people as the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk have never faltered in their words being spoken to the provincial and federal government about open net cage fish farms. They are not wanted and they are not welcome and it is time for them to go!
cheering noises from crowd and Aboriginal chanting/music
Billy Proctor: I am so sick and tired and I watch the TV and I listen, and read the papers and I'm so sick and tired of the lies they put on. They say, 'oh the North Pacific is dying there's no feed out there.' Last year, Russia and Alaska had record runs of fish, and they don't have no farms but anyway. And the lies that come from the fish farm industry is just atrocious, what they are doing to this.
Rafe Mair: I want to say something to the people who inhabit this building a lot, as I once did. You bastards don't own those fish, you don't own those rivers, you don't own that environment, that's ours!
cheering noises from crowd and Aboriginal chanting/music
Jon Steinman: Just some of the sounds from the May 8th 'Salmon are Sacred' Rally held in Victoria. The rally marked the arrival of hundreds of supporters who on foot had joined wildlife biologist Alexandra Morton as part of what organizers called - The Get Out Migration - a two and a half week journey down Vancouver Island calling for an end to the presence of open-net salmon farms in the waters off the BC Coast. Deconstructing Dinner has been following this opposition since our show first began airing in early 2006 as part of our ongoing series Norway, British Columbia - appropriately named because of the over 92% ownership of salmon farms in BC being among Norwegian multinationals.
On Saturday May 8th Alexandra Morton, First Nations leaders and hundreds of supporters arrived in Victoria at Centennial Square where thousands more supporters gathered before walking down the streets of Victoria's downtown to the foot of the BC Legislature. In this first clip from the Centennial Square rally, we hear from Chief Bob Chamberlin from the Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwaw-Ah-Mish First Nation. Bob is also the chairman of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council. Bob is followed by Alexandra Morton and this segment is introduced with a short clip that is courtesy of the salmonaresacred.org website featuring Don Staniford of the Pure Salmon Campaign.
applause and cheering
Don Staniford: We are not just walking to Victoria on the 8th of May, we're walking to Oslo, and we're walking to Norway to tell those Norwegian companies to get out, to get out of the wild salmon narrows, and to get out of BC's pristine waters.
anonymous singing protestor: On the BC Coast, there's a growing opposition. From citizens and First Nations, to stop those big Norwegians, fish farm corporations and save the wild salmon migration.
Chief Bob Chamberlain: (Begins by speaking in Aboriginal language)
My traditional name is O'wadi. My nickname is Bob Chamberlain, and I'm the elected chief of Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwaw-Ah-Mish First Nation.
I know that many of you here, recognize the two words Broughton Archipelago. That is the territory of the Kwicksutaineuk people, and it is that territory that our people of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk have never faltered in their words being spoke to the Provincial and Federal Government about open net cage fish farms. They are not wanted, they are not welcome and it is time for them to go!
And if you ever wondered what does it take? What measure of action does it take to get a government to move? This is the action that it takes, and every one of you is going be a part of the success of having Canada and the Provincial Government to wake up and embrace full value of healthy abundant wild salmon stocks, period.
For just a little too long now, your government has allowed international companies to come in and not bring their best understanding of their operations and their having an impact on your environment, your government is letting you down when it comes to wild salmon. We all must embrace that and know that for fact.
We are very blessed, that we are very fortunate each and every one of us that are here, and the thousands that are not able to make the trip here. And we are very blessed to have somebody that has the strength, character, conviction, and love to look after and stand up to our governments, and I'm talking about Alexandra Morton everybody. Please let's give a round of applause.
applause and cheering
The village that I come from is a very small village on Gilford Island. Just a few days before Alexandra began this great journey, from Sointula down here to Victoria, we hosted a humble lunch, so that our nation could express our love and our support to the work that Alexandra Morton does on behalf of our tribes, and behalf of our territory in the Broughton Archipelago, but on behalf of all the wild salmon that everyone of you here cares for. This is the kind of action that we require and needs to go beyond today, we need to understand that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is right now developing new regulations for aquaculture. So now is the time everybody, now is the time for every one of you here to organize your family, your neighbours, your friends, your neighbourhood, and your community. Send a letter to Gail Shea, Minister of Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and you tell her wild salmon first, closed containment now.
Without further ado, I want to introduce to you a dear friend of mine, and a dear friend of our nation the Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwaw-Ah-Mish. I'm here to tell you all, that our elders have seen the strength of the work that she has done for many years, many years she stood up and said no to the industry called fish farms and I want everyone here to know that my elder, my matriarch Hum'tsa bestowed upon my good friend Alexandra, a name, and it is Gwa'yum-dzi, so please everyone say Gwa'yum-dzi, let's do it again Gwa'yum-dzi. And now I'll let Alexandra say a few words, Gwa'yum-dzi.
applause and cheering
Alexandra Morton: Wow! Look at you, you did it. I love you. Thank you! We have come to believe that we cannot live in the natural world. We have come to think that we need to wreck everything, but it's not so. First Nations and salmon came to this coast together when there was nothing but water and rock and ice. And they grew together. We can do the same; we're at least as smart as them. Please everybody this is not the end, there's some people here, First Nations and otherwise who are going to Oslo, Norway next week, to show them this. And we will take this to Ottawa if need be if they can't hear us from here, whatever it takes.
Because this is about people, this is not save the salmon, this is save the people, save our towns, we want to thrive, we could learn to live with this magnificent planet that gave birth to us, we can do this. We know how to do it, we just need to put our minds to it, and as a young man said to me on the way down, he said, 'if you want to be represented, represent yourself.'
And here you are, and a chief in Nanaimo, Doug White III he said, 'we need to lead the government, lead the government, remember that, lead the government.' The government's not going to lead us, their leading us into a downward spiral, because they don't know which way is up.
And I just want to say to the people who work in the salmon farming industry, we care about you too. This is about our towns and you're in it, and we're all in this together, nobody is the loser. We'll do aquaculture on land in tanks, whatever, and bring the wild salmon back and we could have both. So thank you, thank you, thank you, you've made me very happy, not that I matter in this but I want you to know that I really, really now do think we could save our salmon, so thank you all!
Jon Steinman: This is Deconstructing Dinner. You're tuned in to part 6 of our ongoing series Norway, British Columbia - a series that has been following the controversial salmon farming industry off the BC Coast. On May 8th 2010, Deconstructing Dinner attended one of the largest rallies of its kind in the BC capital of Victoria where wildlife biologist Alexandra Morton alongside First Nations leaders and thousands of supporters approached the BC Legislature calling for the removal of salmon farms from BC waters in order to protect the future of wild salmon.
In the last clip recorded in Victoria's Centennial Square we heard from Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwaw-Ah-Mish. Bob is also the chairman of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council. And it was from Centennial Square that the thousands of supporters migrated down the downtown streets towards the BC Legislature where even more supporters were awaiting. Photos of the rally are posted on the Deconstructing Dinner website. The first to speak to the roughly 4,000 people on the lawn of the Legislature was Grand Chief Stewart Philip of the Penticton Indian Band and Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. Stewart is also serving his 4th 3-year term as president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs.
Grand Chief Stewart Philip: Firstly I'd like to acknowledge the Songish and the Esquimalt People, and I'd like to acknowledge their elders, their spiritual, and traditional and hereditary leaders, and I would like to thank them for hosting such a historic and powerful occasion such as this. I cannot begin to tell you, or to describe how beautiful, how absolutely beautiful you all look here today on the front lawn of the Legislature on such a beautiful day.
I thought last night about an ancient Hopi Prophecy, where upon thousands upon thousands of years ago, there was a prophecy that the time would come when the four races of mankind would come from the four directions. They would come together because Mother Earth was imperil, and I believe, I absolutely believe that time is upon us now. And it's that intuition that has brought us from many different places, from all points of the compass, from out of the comfort of our homes and our families, that has brought us here today to serve notice on the Provincial Government, on the Government of Canada, on the Norwegian corporations, and those other corporations that are reeking havoc in the pristine waters along the coast and imposing their absolutely toxic and repugnant fish farming industry on us.
And the only motive, let's be clear, the only motive is corporate greed and profit and the interests of the shareholders. Let's also be clear this is not a labour intensive industry, it's becoming more mechanized as each and every day goes on. So it's a bunch of bogus crap that the fish farm industry has been peddling now for quite some time and I am so encouraged that we have all come together and we have all stood up, and we have all declared here today, and tomorrow and from this point forward that enough, enough of this b.s. and that we are going to continue to harness our collective energies and push back, that global economic agenda that is so destructive. Not only the fish farms but the mining industry, Taseko Mines and the Prosperity Mine, the Enbridge Pipeline Proposal up north. Not to mention Run of the River Project so called and the Site C Dam Proposal. So it's time for us to send a message, a clear message, a strong message, to the pension laden MP's that are responsible for appointing somebody as irresponsible as Gail Shea as the Fisheries Minister. It's time for us to stand up as one people, and demand her resignation.
And we need to do that when we leave here today, we need to go home, we need to do the email thing, we need to send letters, we need to do all that fundamental political work, that we so often just set aside. We cannot afford to do that with this issue. We got to be relentless in our efforts in pushing back their agenda, and it's going to depend on us to network, to continue to hold each other up, and to continue to come together and support each other, and get to know one another. This journey, this vision that Alexandra had, and she brought it forward in the bright light of day and shared it with a few people. John Lennon said at one time, he said that, "a dream carried by an individual is only a dream, but a dream carried in the hearts of all people becomes a reality," and that's what Alexandra Morton, Gwa'yum-dzi, has done for us. She's provided that beacon of hope, she has provided that leadership, she has brought us together and from this point forward it's up to each one of us as individuals and as families and so on and so forth to carry this agenda forward.
I leave here, very happy, greatly encouraged, I thank each and every one of you for that, and I just want to say in closing for tomorrow, Happy Mother's Day, because I don't think there is any doubt that it's the women, it's the women that provide the strength and the courage, it's the women.
Jon Steinman: Grand Chief Stewart Philip of the Penticton Indian Band and Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. Stewart is serving his 4th 3-year term as president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs. Stewart spoke on May 8th to a crowd of 4,000 people on the lawn of the BC Legislature in Victoria. Also speaking at the event was long-time supporter of preserving BC's wild spaces Vicky Husband. Vicky received the Order of British Columbia in 2000.
Vicky Husband: I want to acknowledge that we're on the lands of the Coast Salish People and all of the First Nations leaders who are here. It is extremely important that we all stand together. This is the biggest rally bringing First Nations, environmental groups, citizens, everybody we have ever seen on an issue like this. And if your message's to those absent politicians, you can say that to them. These are the people who are speaking because there is no leadership. We only have private interest governments both federally and provincially. It's time for change. It isn't just about getting the fish farms out of our oceans, which should have happened a long time ago.
I want to acknowledge Alexandra Morton who has been unbelievable, she is it. We are fortunate to have such leadership in our communities and everybody who is here is a leader in your own right. This is your time to take action, to stand up and be free radicals as well. Stand up for what you believe in. If we don't do it, who will? And we are not seeing leadership at either government level, I agree with Chief Stewart Phillip. We should ask for the resignation of the Fisheries Minister, Gail Shea, right now.
Salmon are the icon, wild salmon are the icon of British Columbia, and they define who we are as a people, all of us. And without them, who are we? So if we don't stand up for endangered wild salmon right now, no one is going to. So that is my message. Every one of you have to take action, it's not up to one or two people. It's everyone, the thousands of people who are here today. This is what you have to do, thank you.
Jon Steinman: Vicky Husband. Another well-known voice on the issue of salmon farms on the BC Coast has been Rafe Mair. Between 1975 and 1981, Rafe served as an MLA for the riding of Kamloops and later became a popular talk-show host until 2005. Since then, Rafe has been a vocal opponent of the privatization of BC's rivers and creeks and of open-net salmon farms. Here's Rafe Mair, speaking on May 8th in front of the BC Legislature in Victoria.
Rafe Mair: I was thinking today, how lucky British Columbia is, to have had such a wonderful effort, an unbelievable effort, by someone who came here from the United States and people who have been here forever. To think that Alexandra Morton and our gala First Nations have brought us to this point, is a credit to them and I think we should acknowledge it.
I want to say something to the people who inhabit this building a lot, as I once did. You bastards don't own those fish, you don't own those rivers, and you don't own that environment, that's ours! Moreover, just because the responsibilities are now with the Federal Government, doesn't get you off the hook. You started this in 2001, every step of the way, you blocked Alexandra, and you even blocked some broadcasters as well. You told lies, after lie, after lie. And you are the reason that we are in this trouble. We expect you to make up for that, by going back to Ottawa as a government and saying the people of British Columbia will not stand this any longer, get rid of those fish farms.
We have to leave this today, this glorious celebration today. Realizing we haven't come to the end, but the beginning of the end. We have to take this spirit and keep on going. With the same power being expressed here today, the power that's in all of our hearts. We can't let up for a second, we can't let up until those fish farms are gone, we can't let up until that rivers policy is reversed, we can't let up until there's no pipeline, we can't let up until there's no tankers. This is our environment, our country, our province and we want it back.
And I'll leave you with this thought, with the leadership that we have, from our First Nations, and from Alexandra Morton, and I want to just tell you that I've sort of been in this fight with Alex for a long, long time. And like everybody else that knows her I'm hopelessly in love with her. She is an inspiration to everybody, and my wife isn't jealous, she says I am too, and I don't know what that means, but we all are. We are lucky to have the First Nations, to have Alex, and with them leading, and us continuing to fight, we're going to win, so help us God.
Jon Steinman: This is Deconstructing Dinner - a syndicated radio show and podcast produced at Kootenay Co-op Radio CJLY in Nelson, British Columbia. Deconstructing Dinner offers our show free-of-charge to not-for-profit radio stations and through our Podcast and relies on the financial support from listeners. You can help financially support this show on our website at deconstructingdinner.ca. Today's episode and part 6 of our Norway, British Columbia series is archived there under the May 13th, 2010 broadcast, where images and many links about today's topic are also posted.
Since 2006, we've been covering the controversial salmon farming industry off the BC Coast and on May 8th, the growing opposition to the industry culminated at a rally in front of the BC Legislature where an estimated 4,000 people gathered demanding that salmon farms be removed from coastal waters. The rally marked the end of what organizers had called the 'Get Out Migration' led by biologist Alexandra Morton from the community of Echo Bay who left her home on April 21st to walk down Vancouver Island for two and a half weeks en route to the May 8th rally in Victoria. Organizers of the migration and rally included the Wilderness Committee, Wild Salmon Circle, Communities for Wild Salmon and Salmon are Sacred.
There were also many First Nations supporting Alexandra's efforts, including former Chief of the Homalco First Nation, Darren Blaney. The Homalco First Nation is centered throughout Bute Inlet near the upper Sunshine Coast. The Homalco are the only First Nation to have had salmon farms successfully removed from their territory. Darren called for the resignation of Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea.
Darren Blaney: It's a real honour to be here with you all, and I'd like to thank the people of the Songish and the Esquimalt First Nations for allowing us to come and do our business here, important business and allowing us, and Alexandra Morton to come here and start the work of saving our salmon. It's been too long since the government's been disconnected from the people who elected them into office.
You know there's a story from one of my friends from the US. He talked about the people, the humans, who are so pitiful. Long time ago when humans first came to this earth, they were so pitiful, and all the animals and all the creatures, the plants, they got together and started to see how can we help the pitiful humans? And they asked whose going to help the humans? The first one to stand up was the salmon. And as the salmon stood up, all the other creatures of the ocean also stood up to help the humans, the pitiful humans. The next ones to stand up were the deer and all the four-leggeds. After that was the medicines, the plants and the medicines, offered to help the humans. And from there, the winged, the winged offered to help the humans. The people in return were supposed to look after all of the things of this earth, and I think we lost our way, just as our governments have lost their way. Our Provincial Governments have lost their way; our Federal Governments have lost their way. Gail Shea, Gail shameful maybe. She should resign, she shouldn't be doing this job.
You know I've been up and down the Fraser talking to First Nations, and one of the things that always, always annoying for me to listen to is fish farms. Whenever I hear somebody look at the paper, there's always the talk of jobs, to say that jobs from fish farms feed families. And when I look at the First Nations up in the Fraser, who don't get any salmon, impoverishment, and all the social problems, unemployment and our main food is salmon, so who's going to feed them? Certainty not the fish farm companies. When we sat and negotiated with Marine Harvest, we sat in the room for 16 hours a day trying to get them removed from our territory. So many times they were almost ready to walk out and we kept pushing and pushing, and eventually we got them to agree that they were going to remove their farm.
But the work there, I think is only just the beginning. I think the government has been... whenever you talk to any government, you talk to fish farm, you know, the denial machine is in full force. We talked to the Provincial Government, it's always about denial, I felt like I was talking to Marine Harvest. I talked to, Canada DFO, I felt like I was talking to Marine Harvest, it didn't make any difference, they were the same thing, and they have forgotten who they serve. I think they need to remember that they serve you, the voters. As my good friend Bob Chamberlin says, the only thing more sacred to the politicians is your vote, and I think they need to remember that. Remember that with that vote comes the service of those people.
You know there's a lot of work to be done in the fish farms and I really appreciate the work that Alexandra Morton has provided. You know with all the vision, the courage. You know when we walked down the island, I didn't walk down every day, I joined them where I could, but it sort of reminds me of the pain and suffering that the salmon go through in order to provide our food. You know my feet are sore, I got blisters, I'm tired, but the salmon they go up the river without eating. All the way up to the end of the river, and the Fraser, all these rivers. And when you take a look at all the environment, and it is all connected to the salmon, all our forests are connected to the salmon, all the bears, all the eagles, the wolves. I think we need to remember that the fish farm is not going to feed our eagles, our bears, our wolves and our forests.
So many times the Government has said, you know that if they escape they will never survive and guess what? They've survived, and then one day went up the river, and they said they'll never go up the river. John Volpe did some studies and they were finding them a couple of generations in our river systems. I talked to people in the Stalo they were catching Atlantic salmon in Stalo area. I thought them people in Lytton they were catching Atlantics in Lytton, and Lillooet, they were catching Atlantic's in Lillooet. You know one of the elders in Lytton, Nathan Spinks came and talked to me one time and he said that DFO was telling him not to fish, he wasn't allowed to fish. He just told them, he just shushed them and told them to sit down and watch his fish, and as the fish swam up to his net, the fish came up to the net and just turned and went around sideways of the net and went around, and he said that was a farmed salmon. So they're getting into our river systems.
So we have to save our salmon, you know. I think it is our turn to stand up for the wild salmon. Just as the salmon was the first one to stand up for us. You know the corporations, this Marine Harvest corporation (Surmac), and Greig. All they care about is profit and that will never end. The only thing that keeps growing to its own detriment is cancer, and we need to remove this cancer from our coast. I'm going to be going to Norway in about ten days from now, the 16th or eight days from now, and I'm going to be going with Don, and we're going to be going to the shareholders meeting in Norway. So we'll bringing your message, and what a strong and powerful message it is.
Jon Steinman: Darren Blaney - the former chief of the Homalco First Nation whose territory is located around Bute Inlet, British Columbia. Deconstructing Dinner recorded Darren on May 8th speaking in Victoria at a rally attended by an estimated 4,000 people. Also calling for an end to the practice of open-net salmon farming of the BC Coast was an elder commercial fisherman from the Broughton Archipelago, Billy Proctor.
Billy Proctor: I can't talk very long but I'll try my best. I'd like Alexandra Morton to come and stand by me if she could, since we've been together, we've been together since day one of this issue. When Alexandra Morton came first day into the Broughton Archipelago she used to come and ask me a million questions about fish. And I do know a little bit about fish, I commercially fished for 60 years, I've lived in the Broughton Archipelago all my life, which is 74 years, and she went deck hand with me for three summers and that's really what got her interested in the fish, fish and industry because she could see how important the fish were to this BC Coast. It was a very educating period of her time, and I have to say I'm absolutely overwhelmed with the power that this woman has. I would like you all to give a big hand.
There's probably no one better in this whole crowd that knows how the demise of the salmon in the Broughton Archipelago have gone down better than I do. The runs that are in question I've fished for 35 years, starting way back in 1951, and I've followed them Pink Salmon all the way from the ocean right into as far as we could fish to the boundaries. Twenty years ago it was quite common to get five and six hundred pink salmon a day when you were trawling. The last trawl opening was in the Broughton, they sent, DFO sent one boat in to test fish and in three days they got twelve fish, so that give you a little idea how it was. Kingcome Inlet use to have anywhere up to 700,000 spawners and I think last year they had 126,000. And some of the streams like Emily Lagoon they saw three pink salmon in there and I've witnessed throngs of 300,000, and it just goes on and on and on and on.
The one thing we got to really fight for is to get them farms on land or out of the water. It's okay to say we're going to put them in closed containment and we're going to do this, and the DFO says we got to do more studies. Christ, we've studied everything to death as it is, how are we going to do more studies, it's hopeless. They called us all old farts and told us we had to tell them where the migration routes of the wild salmon were, this is about 18 or 20 years ago. So all of us fishermen in the Broughton and around Alert Bay and Sointula, gathered in Alert Bay and we drew up a map and DFO put on green zones, yellow zones, and red zones and now out of 17 farms in the Broughton there is 11 in the red zones were there was not supposed to be any. They were the ones who were causing the main troubles and they got to get out of there and get out fast.
I am so sick and tired, I watch the TV and I listen and read the papers and I'm so sick and tired of the lies they put on. They say the north Pacific is dying there's no feed out there. Last year Russia and Alaska had record runs of fish and they don't have no farms, but the lies that come from the fish farm industry, it's just atrocious what they are doing to us.
And the final message I want to give you guys I've seen a great, this is the biggest congregation I've ever seen in my life of First Nations, and us white guys or whatever you want to call us but it's great to see us all getting together at last, there's been a little conflict. There's no one that knows that any better than I do because most of the First Nations People I've seen here today that come from the Broughton Archipelago; Kingcome, Guildford Village, and Hopetown. I know them since they were kids, little kids going to school and everything else. I've always had really good working relation with First Nations and I hope that everybody in this crowd can keep up that working relation. And before you leave here today don't just do like a lot of us commercial fishermen did, we use to bitch and complain about things all summer long and then we went in and tied our boats up and forget it for the rest of the year. You got to keep on, keep on; just think of everyone in this crowd wrote a letter to Ottawa today, think of all the letters they would get. Somebody's got to change something!
Jon Steinman: Billy Proctor - a commercial fisherman from the community of Echo Bay in the Broughton Archipelago. This is Deconstructing Dinner, today's episode featuring recordings from the May 8th 'Salmon are Sacred Rally' are archived on our website at deconstructingdinner.ca and posted under the May 13th 2010 broadcast. You can also learn more about the salmon farming industry by visiting the page of our Norway, British Columbia series - our ongoing coverage of the subject. And with the May 8th rally being indeed a political one, it was no surprise to have Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly address the 4,000-person rally in Victoria. Fin Donnelly represents the riding of New Westminster-Coquitlam, Port Moody and is the NDPs Critic for Fisheries and Oceans. He's a long-time supporter of protecting wild salmon and has swam the Fraser River on two occasions now to draw attention to the plight of the wild salmon. On May 5th, Fin introduced proposed legislation calling for an end to open-net salmon farms.
Fin Donnelly: It's great to be here, in this historic moment. So many people have gathered to send such a powerful message. That we need to protect our salmon, we need to protect our wild salmon. And Alexandra Morton is leading the way. You know Alex has brought not only a school of salmon but a school of people, the length of Vancouver Island, right to the steps of the Legislature, to send an important message to all British Columbia, and to all of Canada.
You know it reminds me of when I did my swim in 1995. I started off high in the head waters of the Fraser River, one of the great salmon rivers of the world, and I didn't know what I was going to get myself into by swimming fourteen hundred kilometers down that river to draw attention to our salmon and the plight of our salmon. But by the end, so many communities, First Nations, young people, old people, all sorts of people knew why I was doing that, why we had to do that, and why Alex is doing this walk today. It is to protect our wild salmon. We need to take action now! I was able to introduce a Bill, a Private Members Bill, three days ago on Wednesday in the House of Commons calling for the transition to closed containment of all farms on the West Coast. Now we need leadership!
Jon Steinman: Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly. Following Fin Donnelly, MP Denise Savoie also spoke alongside 16-year old Thea Block who first introduced the idea for the Bill introduced by Fin Donnelly. That recording is archived on the Deconstructing Dinner website. And as we near the end of today's broadcast, we can't forget to share the words of Alexandra Morton herself - the focal point of the 'Get Out Migration' and the 'Salmon are Sacred Rally.' Alexandra was deeply moved by the amount of support that her many years of challenging the salmon farming industry had encouraged, but she suggested that now the effort is in the hands of all the peoples living in Canada to demand that salmon farms be removed from coastal waters.
anonymous: Here's Alexandra Morton!
applause and cheering
Alexandra Morton: So I'm thinking we get to keep our salmon. Not because I walked down the Island but because every one of you showed up. Because Gail Shea and the rest of them are immune to me, that's a fact. I don't have much to say to you because my feeling is it's over to you now. I know each one of you is going to go back to your homes and you're going to write a letter, and you're going to email both to your Members of Parliament, your MLA, Harper, Gordon Campbell... I suppose. And anyone else who you think might be running the show here because, what is going on is berserk. How we got convinced that it was okay to let these Norwegian companies come in and put fish in pens and tell us we couldn't go near them. And they vaccinate their fish and say it will be okay. But it's not okay for our fish. I have spent ten years looking exactly at what their farms do to our fish, and as I said in the previous spot, people and salmon can live together. We know that, it's been proven, because ten thousand years ago when the ice receded from this continent, the First Nations People and the salmon came together, into a hostile land, and they thrived together.
There's two people standing above me on the stairs, one has sea lice, a bad case of sea lice all over her face, Anissa Reed who is the creator of salmon, wild salmon backbone of the coast, and there's also Don Staniford, dark glasses, messy hair, dark shirt. I've realized earlier this year that it was time to go and do something else, because the last two talks I gave, they didn't want to know about sea lice anymore they just wanted to know what to do. And so I called Don and Anissa because those two think so far out of the box, they don't know where the box is, and as soon as this idea fell out of a mouth, we got up, it was 10:30 at night and we clocked how long it took to walk one kilometer, and we start planning the route, and from that point all of you took over. People helped in every community and an amazing group collected around us and walked the whole way, cooking, making fire, keeping us safe on the road, the RCMP were phenomenal, and it all comes down to this, do we live in a democracy or not? This is a test.
So I'm just going to do one last thing. When I left the Broughton Archipelago, I scooped up a jaw from a salmon, it's in the Meetup River some people call it the Viner, it's probably a Chum Salmon jaw and I'm going to lay it on the steps of the Parliament Building, because we have been a successful migration and we can leave something behind there's that many of us, we can be, not as generous as the salmon, but we're taking that step. So thank you every one of you, I'm almost wondering if I'm awake. I really think we can have our wild salmon now. Thank you!
Jon Steinman: Alexandra Morton speaking on May 8th in front of the BC Legislature in Victoria. Again, today's episode including links to the many organizations involved with the Rally and unheard audio is archived on our website at deconstructingdinner.ca and the May 13th 2010 broadcast. Unheard audio on the site includes Brian Gunn of the Wilderness Tourism Association, Tyee Bridge a writer and journalist, Lauren Hornor of Fraser Riverkeeper and many more. And in closing out today's part 6 of our Norway, British Columbia series, here is Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly introducing Bill C-518 in the House of Commons on May 5th. As introduced earlier, the Bill is calling for an end to the practice of open-net salmon farms in BC Waters.
Mister Speaker: Mr. Donnelly, seconded by Madame Savoie, moves to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Fisheries Act (closed containment aquaculture.) This motion is deemed adopted by the Honorable Member of New Westminster-Coquitlam.
Fin Donnelly: Thank you Mister Speaker, I rise today in the House to introduce a Bill that aims to strengthen the Fisheries Act by requiring fish farms operations of BC's West Coast to move to closed containment. The Bill directs the Fisheries Minister to develop, table and implement a transition plan outlining how fish farm operations would make that move. Mister Speaker the plan must ensure that those currently working in the industry will be protected during this transition. Mister Speaker, New Democrats believe environmental protection not only can but must co-exist with economic prosperity. In fact British Columbia's, and indeed Canada's well-being depends on it.
Mister Speaker the idea for this Bill came from Thea Block, a 16 year old student from Glenlyon Norfolk Secondary School in Victoria. It was her winning entry, in my colleagues, the Honorable Member from Victoria, 'Create Your Canada' contest, which was held late last year. Mister Speaker, last summer Thea worked on a fish boat with her Dad. They run a small fish operation that relies on healthy wild salmon. Thea wants future generations to be able to enjoy the wild salmon just as she and so many others have. She doesn't want it spoiled because we didn't take steps to protect BC's wild salmon.
Mister Speaker, amending the Fisheries Act and moving to closed containment is a step to ensuring wild salmon remain healthy for generations to come. I hope all Members of the House join with me in supporting this Bill. Thank you Mister Speaker.
Jon Steinman: And that was this week's edition of Deconstructing Dinner, produced and recorded at Nelson, British Columbia's at Kootenay Co-op Radio. I've been your host Jon Steinman, I thank my technical assistant John Ryan.
The theme music for Deconstructing Dinner is courtesy of Nelson-area resident Adham Shaikh.
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