The Prince Rupert Northern View will be sending questions out to the candidates on different topics of interest to the North Coast from different stakeholders.
This week the question focussed on fishing and come from Joy Thorkelson of the UFAWU. While all candidates had the opportunity to respond with up to 300 words by press deadline, only the following three candidates provided answers. The questions this week are as follows:
1) One of the challenges shoreworkers face is that North Coast fish is increasingly being sent offshore for processing. What regulation/legislation would you propose that your party would support to ensure that fish harvested on the north coast is fully processed on the north coast?
**Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage Party:
CHP Canada is committed to ensuring that Canada’s natural resources, including fish stocks in and around Canadian waters are harvested, processed, transported and marketed to yield the maximum benefit for Canadians. Offshore processing of Canada’s natural resources is draining economic value from Canada’s great potential and contributes to high unemployment and regional population shifts. Historically, fish processing has been significant part of the BC economy and certainly for BC’s North Coast communities. Similar trends in other resources such as timber, oil, minerals, water and agricultural commodities have weakened local economies in Canada while strengthening foreign corporations and offshore economies.Fish caught in Canadian waters should be processed locally and this should be mandated by legislation and regulation. One way to counteract the inevitable pull towards low-cost offshore processing and to keep local processors competitive and successful would be to include ownership shares and profit sharing by local fishermen and plant workers as a small but significant part of income and revenues.
As a general principle, Green Party policy is to localise as much labour as possible. This would mean encouragement of construction of (in this case) local fish processing plants. It would be possible to design legislation such that all fish caught in Canadian waters be processed in Canadian facilities or face an export tax. I doubt that it would be easy to prevent (say) fish caught near Prince Rupert from being processed near Vancouver.
I will work with my colleagues in the Liberal Party to engage with coastal communities, First Nations, the industry, and shoreworkers in an attempt to create regulations that keep fish processing jobs in the northwest, while not unduly limiting the flexibility of industry. The Liberal Party will gauge the opinions of these key stakeholders, in order to see if community support exists for adopting such regulations as part of a larger process of creating integrated oceans management.