The Harper government spent $26 million of your tax dollars investigating the reasons for the collapse of the 2009 Fraser River sockeye run. The Cohen Commission Final Report (PDF) was delivered to the Governor in Council on 31 October 2012 after 18 months of hearings and investigation. During that 18 months, scientists conducting studies into the collapse of Pacific salmon stocks made it clear that the Prime Minister's Office had interfered with and effectively gagged those scientists making any kind of public statement as to their findings and their published research. In short, the PMO was not going to let any government scientist say anything which could even be slightly construed as bad about ... fish farms on the BC coast.
The Cohen Report contained 75 sweeping recommendations to Government with deadlines and benchmarks if the Fraser River sockeye stock was to be given any chance of continued survival. And that's just about where things ended. Almost all of the recommendations have been ignored with deadlines having expired on many and other actions simply put on "hold".
Now, this. (bold mine)
The Harper government has quietly opened the door to a major expansion of B.C.’s controversial fish farm sector despite warnings by the 2012 Cohen Commission about the effects of net-based farms on wild salmon.Take clear note of how that was done. Shea told the fish farming industry back in October, 2013, that expansion of Atlantic salmon open-pen feedlots in Pacific coast waters would be approved. She informed the affected BC First Nations last week.
The decision, revealed to fish farmers by Fisheries Minister Gail Shea in October, was laid out in letters to several B.C. First Nations last week.
An official in Shea’s department said Wednesday that Ottawa has already received 11 applications for expansions or new farms.
So much for the "duty to consult" and so much for the coast of British Columbia.
As for the Cohen Commission Report and the outstanding items. Well, the Honourable Bruce Cohen has never been invited to sit down with anyone from government to discuss his report. The outstanding deadlines, (almost all have which have expired), will never be met. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will continue to be in a blatant conflict of interest with a mandate to regulate and preserve wild fish stocks while at the same time promoting domestic open-pen feedlots, virtually all of which are owned by European companies.
Harper just showed British Columbians what he thinks of them. And all Canadians actually. It's your $26 million he wasted on an inquiry, the recommendations of which he had no intention of reading.