FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick Liberal Opposition defended the interests of New Brunswick fishermen in the legislature today in light of proposed changes by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
On Opposition day the Liberal Opposition presented a motion calling on the Alward government to confirm its support for the owner-operator system and urge the federal government to formally support the owner-operator system.
However, the opposition is concerned with amendments made by government to water down the motion. These amendments open the door to changes to the owner-operator system.
Hédard Albert, (left) the Opposition critic for Fisheries and MLA for Caraquet, said the motion was introduced to highlight the importance of the owner-operator policies to our local fishermen and the coastal communities in which they live.
“Our fishermen are worried about what the elimination of these policies could mean for their livelihood,” said Albert, noting that this could have a negative impact on families in the province’s many fishing communities. “We must ensure they are protected.
“Our neighbors in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island understand the importance of these policies to the fishing industry,” continued Albert, adding that both Governments presented their own motions against the potential changes to owner-operator and fleet separation policies.
“We hope our motion will encourage the Alward government to take immediate action on this file, and defend the fishermen of our province.”
Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau (right) agreed, adding that the Alward government’s inability to negotiate with their federal counterparts on other important files is a cause for concern.
“We’ve seen this government back down from the feds several times on very important issues, such as Point Lepreau, the Saint John Harbour Bridge, or Canadian Blood Services, for example,” said Boudreau, the MLA for Shediac-Cap-Pelé.
“We sincerely hope the owner-operator policies for our fishermen will not be another issue to add to the ever-growing list of failures by this government.”