Topics of Interest

Cohen Inquiry Interim Report Gets An “F”: John Cummins MP

Cohen’s Interim Report Gets an “F”

John Cummins, M.P.

Delta- Richmond East

News Release

November 8, 2010

Cohen’s Interim Report Gets an “F”

OTTAWA– The Cohen Inquiry has issued its first report three months late. The report weighs in at 680 grams or nearly 1½ pounds and has 302 pages. If prizes were awarded for weight or number of pages the report would be given high marks; for content it warrants an “F”.

The Inquiry was established on November 5, 2009 and was ordered to submit an interim report by August 1st setting out Justice Cohen’s assessment of (i) previous investigations he considered relevant to his inquiry into the Fraser River salmon fishery and (ii) the government’s action to implement their recommendations.

The dictionary says that an “assessment” evaluates or judges the value or quality of something. Cohen was never asked to summarize previous studies, he was asked to evaluate or judge the value or quality of both them and the government’s response. He did neither.

Cohen failed on all counts. His interim report does not contain any substantive assessments. Nowhere in the 302 pages of his report did he evaluate or judge the value or quality of previous studies or of the government’s response to them.Instead of selecting investigations which were directly relevant to his inquiry,

Cohen simply summarizes the recommendations of 22 different reports. Some were noteworthy but most were inconsequential.

Instead of making substantive assessments of how the government implemented or failed to implement recommendations, he merely summarized in point form what the government claimed to have done.

Fishermen have not forgotten that the investigations by Peter Pearse, John Fraser and Bryan Williams all heard considerable evidence of widespread and ongoing problems in the administration and enforcement of aboriginal fisheries.

Their reports contained a long series of recommendations with regard to addressing the problems in the administration and enforcement. This interim report paid scant attention to these issues.

There are many references to the Supreme Court’s decision in Sparrow, but only one to the Van der Peet decision and it made no mention of the fact that the court rejected a Sto:lo claim to an aboriginal right to sell or trade salmon, an issue central to many of the fisheries management and enforcement problems on the Fraser.

The interim report sets out the various technical and scientific studies that the Inquiry has established yet seems blind to the obvious problem of using former DFO staff to conduct such work when the inquiry has as its first order of business a review of DFO departmental management policies and practices.

In addition it is never explained why the commission is undertaking such work.

Cohen’s terms of reference never requested such scientific studies. Furthermore the interim report was never to be a recitation of what the commission was doing, its sole task was to evaluate or judge the value or quality of previous studies and the government’s implementation of their recommendations.

At no time does Cohen explain why he failed to make the required assessments.

While DFO is undoubtedly relieved at not having to face any assessment of their failures to implement earlier investigations, Cohen’s inaction is not something that can be put at the door of DFO.

It was Cohen’s job and he failed to do it.

Cohen claims that his staff “toiled long hours to get the commission in operation as quickly and efficiently as possible.” Fishermen might be tempted to ask to what end?

Cohen and his staff have clearly wasted their first year. There is nothing in this interim report on how DFO might make changes in its management of the 2011 fishery. Most importantly this is not the report that was asked for nor is it what fishermen had reason to hope for when the Cohen Inquiry was established one year ago.

Contact: John Cummins, M.P.

(613) 992-2957, (cell) (604) 970-0937, (604) 940-8040 or

RCMP reply re denial of public right to access

RCMP Response to Denial of Public Access Concerns

BCWF Questions Why Public Access to Halibut Closed, While Private Harvest Continues

Vancouver, BC – So, you thought Canada’s fish resources were owned by the public. Not according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), says The BC Wildlife Federation.

On October 18 the public will be prohibited from retaining halibut for the rest of the year while private interests continue to harvest this species. Once again, the Harper government, through the actions of DFO, skewers coastal communities in BC by depriving them of economic opportunities from the recreational fishery. Why? Because, in contravention of the Fisheries Act, our federal government has gifted 88% of the total allowable catch quota of halibut to 327 private businessmen to dispose of as they choose.

“Over half of this commercial quota is not even being fished by the original quota recipients,” said Wayne Harling, a member of BCWF’s Tidal Water Fisheries Committee. “Instead, they lease ‘their’ quota annually for $2 -$3 per pound (in some cases, this amounts to more than $100,000) and  retire to warmer climates at the expense of the Canadian public. And that gift was permanent which means that their quota can be sold or passed on to relatives in perpetuity, even if the recipients never fish for halibut”.

“This gifting of halibut quota is just the tip of the iceberg”, said Paul Rickard, also a member of BCWF’s  Tidal Water Fisheries Committee .” Unless there is a public uproar over this give-away, of halibut, DFO intends to go the same route for all commercially-caught fish and shellfish on the Pacific coast. All Canadians who value our public fishery should contact Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to voice their concern.”


For further information, please contact Patti MacAhonic, Executive Director, BCWF, at 604-291-9990 extension 230 or 604-308-1914.

Disagreement Over Yale Final Agreement

For Immediate Release:

BC Wildlife Federation

February 24th, 2010

The 37,000 members of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) do not share our politician’s enthusiasm with the recent signing of the Yale Final Agreement.  “We have the same issues with the numbers of Fraser River sockeye allocated to the Yale as in the Tsawwassen Final Agreement.” states BCWF President Mel Arnold.  Combining the food and commercial allocations the Yale First Nation are to receive over 2% of the annual Fraser River sockeye plus some allocations of other salmon species.  “There are  ninety six  other First Nations on the Fraser River, most larger in band numbers,  potentially demanding similar or likely larger percentages. It is to be noted that another small Band at Tsawwassen also received close to 2% of the Fraser Sockeye in their Treaty. Then we also have the Bands in the Strait of Georgia, Johnstone Strait, Juan de Fuca Strait and the West Coast of Vancouver Island who also have or are promised a share of the Fraser Sockeye.   Historically the commercial and public fisheries have benefitted all Canadians but as these treaties roll out it is clear the only benefit will be to First Nations. And it is clear from the math that not all First Nations will in fact benefit but will lose their current share in the end.”

Over the years the BCWF has met with Government officials both in BC and Ottawa and on many occasions raised the question of the “arithmetic” regarding these numbers in final agreements with First Nations.  “It is incredulous that our government leaders don’t get it.  Maybe they just don’t care.  At the time of the signing of the Tsawwassen Final Agreement only five provincial MLAs had requested briefing notes.  We suspect the vast majority of current MLAs are equally ignorant of what is in the Yale Final Agreement.”

“How British Columbians can accept the blatant discrimination of voters in the Yale First Nation Government is equally baffling.  Non-natives living on Yale settlement lands will be taxed but disallowed a vote in the local government.  Eighty seven percent of voting British Columbians  told Premier Campbell in the infamous 2002 ‘ binding’ referendum’ that aboriginal self-government should have the characteristics of local government, with powers delegated from Canada and British Columbia’. Once again we see Campbell and his government rejecting the wishes of the citizens of B.C. ”

The BCWF supports the principle of forming treaties with the First Nations of British Columbia.  It does not support the denial of public consultation.  “Each First Nation person of voting age gets his say on whether to accept or reject an agreement,” said BCWF President Mel Arnold, “when you consider how the cumulative impact of these will affect the future of all British Columbians why should we, as tax paying citizens accept less than our First Nations people expect?”

For further information please contact Patti MacAhonic, Executive Director of the BCWF at 604-291-9990 extension 230 or at

The BCWF is a province-wide voluntary conservation organization representing over 37,000 British Columbian members whose aims are to protect, enhance and promote the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation was incorporated under the B.C. Societies Act in 1951 and it became a registered charity in 1969. The Federation is British Columbia’s largest and oldest conservation organization.

Olympic Anti-Hunting Campaign

The anticipated Olympic anti-hunting campaign by environmental groups and anti-hunting, anti-use groups has begun. Take a look at the list of supporters in the news release below. A lot of the usual suspects back again after the anti-hunting referendum in 1996. However this time they have returned with some big hitters with huge financial resources, namely  the Humane Society of the United States. The difference this time is that they are trying to take a smaller bite and instead of going for a blanket ban on bear hunting are using First Nation representation to focus on closing bear hunting on the North & Central coast. Or the First Nations are using them: it’s a moot point.

This would be an opportune time to write to your local MP as well as the Premier’s office and tell them that it is time to stand up to these anti-hunting, anti-use activists and tell them that they cannot make the rules for resource use in British Columbia.



The “Sport” That Should Be Banned

Growing International Network Calls on B.C. Government to End the “Sport” That it Does Not Want people to Know About — The Trophy Hunt of Bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.
VANCOUVER, BC, February 16, 2010, –/WORLD-WIRE/–

In less than two months, the B.C. government plans to open the trophy hunt of bears in the internationally celebrated Great Bear Rainforest. Trophy hunters will be allowed to gun down vulnerable grizzlies and black bears as they emerge from hibernation.

A growing international network consisting of First Nations, conservation, animal protection and tourism groups — representing more than 15 million members and constituents from over 40 countries — is calling on the government to ban the trophy hunt for ethical, cultural, conservation and economic reasons.

“This is not a sport, it is a senseless slaughter,” said Art Sterritt, Executive Director of Coastal First Nations. “The trophy hunt goes against every moral teaching that we carry and is disrespectful to our culture and values.”

“When one looks at the diversity of groups calling for action, from First Nations and wildlife viewing businesses to some of the world’s leading conservation and animal welfare organisations, it is clear that the time has come to end this anachronistic blood sport.” said Ian McAllister, Executive Director of BC-based Pacific Wild. “With the 2010 Olympic games in town, the eyes of the world are on BC’s environmental practices, and this trophy hunt is tarnishing our reputation.”

“The international condemnation of this trophy hunt will continue to build until the bears in the Great Bear Rainforest are protected,” said Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of Humane Society International/Canada. “British Columbia residents and the world community stand united in their opposition to the cruel and needless trophy hunting of bears.”

“British Columbia should be celebrating our wildlife heritage, not killing it for sport or for a senseless trophy,” said Dean Wyatt, owner of Knight Inlet Lodge and a Director of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association. Our businesses depend on healthy bear populations and a positive international reputation.”

For More Information:

Rebecca Aldworth,
Executive Director,
Humane Society International
Canada phone: (514)575-6797

Ian McAllister,
Executive Director,
Pacific Wild

Art Sterritt,
Executive Director of Coastal First Nations
phone: (604)868-9110

Dean Wyatt,
Coastal Bear Viewing Association,
phone (250)203-0353

– The Great Bear Rainforest, located on the BC central and north coast, contains the largest tracts of intact old growth temperate rainforest on earth.

– Each spring and fall season, the government of British Columbia allows trophy hunters, both local and foreign, to kill bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.

– A 2009 Ipsos Reid poll shows that 79 percent of British Columbians oppose the trophy hunting of bears.

– Of the 430 grizzlies killed in 2007 in BC, 87 percent were killed by trophy hunters. Approximately 300 BC grizzly bears are killed annually.

– Bear viewing is far more lucrative than bear hunting in BC. One bear viewing lodge in Knight inlet alone generates more revenue than the entire combined grizzly bear hunting industry.

Signatories of ad campaign: For ad download go to: (Ad in Vancouver Sun today, Feb 16 pgA13)

Pacific Wild
Humane Society International/Canada
Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society
Wildlife Land Trust
Coastal First Nations
Sierra Club BC
Western Canada Wilderness Committee
David Suzuki Foundation
The Spirit Bear Youth Coalition
Valhalla Wilderness Society
Bears Matter
Forest Ethics
Animal Rights Sweden
Freedom for Animals – Croatia
Brigitte Bardot Foundation – France
Franz Weber Foundation – Switzerland
Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA) – Belgium
Fundacion para la Adopcion, Apadrinamiento y Defensa de los Animales (FAADA) – Spain
Four Paws (International)
Respect for Animals – UK
Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia
Robin Wood Canopy