Thursday, October 20, 2011

What will be left of DFO once the minister finishes scuttling his department?

I posed the following question Thursday, Oct. 20th, in the House of Commons:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the Prairies the Conservatives are attacking the livelihood of farmers.

On the West and East coasts the fisheries are the target.

Their decision to gut the Department of Fisheries and Oceans shows they are completely out of touch with the needs of fishing communities.

Mr. Speaker, the government’s buddies on Bay Street cannot feed Canadian families.

Why do the Conservatives have it in for Canada’s primary producers?

The following is the response of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield:

Mr. Speaker, the strategic review was an opportunity for the department to assess the performance of its programs.

It also allowed us to ensure that we are responding to the priorities of Canadians. DFO is making steady progress in modernizing and improving our program and policy approaches to meet the needs of Canadians today and the future.

And my follow-up question:

Mr. Speaker, we know government prefers to make decisions based on ideology rather than science, statistics or facts, but the Conservative cuts to DFO have gone too far.

Cutting the science branch means making decisions with nothing to back them up.

Cutting the resource conservation councils means fishermen have no say.

And cutting search and rescue means lives are actually put at risk.

Can the minister explain exactly what will be left, what he will be in charge of once he’s finished scuttling his department?

Ashfield’s response:

Mr. Speaker, that was a multitude of questions from the member opposite.

We will have a more efficient, more effective department at DFO which will deal with the needs of fisheries on the East Coast, the West Coast and Northern Canada.

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