In the article below there are allegations arising in BC Supreme Court that the Campbell BC Liberal government paid people to support salmon farms at a protest rally in Victoria several years ago.
Also, below is my response to a BC Liberal MLA on the subject of salmon farm science. This week I attended a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL). They still refuse to accept the science on sea lice! They did not test sea lice that got so out of control in Esperanza Inlet that the fish farmers killed all their fish. Drug resistance is a serious problem worldwide in fish farms, and it leads to use of more toxic drugs in our oceans. It means the impact of sea lice on wild fish cannot be controlled on a long-term basis. MAL contends the sea lice in Esperanza were not drug-resistant, but cannot back that up with a single test. They also could not verbalize any measures underway to prevent drug-resistance in sea lice, even though an international sea lice meeting in Victoria this month made it clear drug-resistance is inevitable. The next generation of drugs used will be toxic bath treatments which are released into the ocean.
The article below is extremely disturbing. If it is true, there is no reason to expect the salmon farming issue to ever be resolved. You might want to contact government and ask if your tax dollars were used in this manner to disrupt a democratic process concerning a public resource.
To find Gordon Campbell and MLA addresses go to: http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-5.htm
It is essential that the BC government learn how many people in BC want to keep wild salmon - giving full consideration to the people employed in the industry, but not at the expense of losing our wild salmon. www.salmonaresacred.org
This is now about keeping our towns alive, public food security and government integrity.
Lawyer alleges Campbell advised accused to 'keep mouth shut'
Claims made in corruption trial immediately denied in the witness stand by B.C. Premier’s chief of staff
Vancouver — From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Thursday, May. 20, 2010 9:03PM EDT http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/lawyer-alleges-campbell-advised-accused-to-keep-mouth-shut/article1576517/
Allegations that Premier Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown, his chief of staff, each called a political operative under police investigation and told him “he would be taken care of if he kept his mouth shut” were made in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Thursday.
The stunning claims – which were immediately denied by Mr. Brown from the witness stand – came in the form of questions put during cross examination by Kevin McCullough.
Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie reminded the jury questions put by lawyers are not to be taken as evidence.
Mr. McCullough is defending Bobby Virk, one of three former government employees facing charges of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering in relation to the 2003 sale of BC Rail for $1-billion.
“I’m going to suggest you called Mr. Virk regularly [after police raided his legislature office on Dec. 28, 2003] … and that you assured him the government would be taking care of him … if he kept his mouth shut,” said Mr. McCullough, standing at a podium beside the jury box.
“That is absolutely untrue,” said Mr. Brown, who has been Mr. Campbell’s chief political adviser since the Liberals first took power in B.C. in 2001.
“Were you aware that Mr. Campbell was [also] calling Mr. Virk … [and that] Campbell assured him he would take care of him?” asked Mr. McCullough.
“No. Never heard that before. I would be shocked, completely shocked if that was the case – because I don’t believe that ever happened,” said Mr. Brown, who kept his composure, although he had trouble recalling certain events as the questions kept coming.
Mr. McCullough asked who had recommended Mr. Virk for his job as ministerial assistant to then transportation minister Judith Reid. Mr. Brown, who did the hiring, couldn’t remember.
“Do you recall interviewing Mr. Virk and telling him he was going to get the job … because Premier Campbell personally recommended him?” Mr. McCullough said.
“I don’t recall that … if I said that I don’t remember saying that. … It’s not impossible,” Mr. Brown said.
Asked if he remembered introducing Mr. Virk at a Liberal caucus meeting once as “Bob from Burnaby,” which prompted a standing ovation, Mr. Brown shook his head.
“I don’t remember any meeting … I’m not saying I didn’t … . It would be helpful if you told me the context,” he said.
“A Christmas party full of Liberal MLAs,” prompted Mr. McCullough.
“If I did, I don’t remember,” Mr. Brown said.
He did recall, however, that “Bob from Burnaby” was the identity Mr. Virk gave when he called in to radio hotline shows, to pose soft questions when Mr. Campbell was on air.
“I think that’s a perfectly acceptable and long standing political practice,” he said.
“You don’t think it’s a deceptive practice to use your workers?” Mr. McCullough asked.
“No, … all parties do that because it’s all about having your message get out,” Mr. Brown said.
Mr. Brown also defended the actions of Mike McDonald, head of special projects for the Premier, who the defence alleged helped organize the disruption of an anti-fish farm rally in Victoria.
Mr. Brown said Mr. McDonald didn’t organize things, he simply told pro-fish farm people it was in their best interest “to protest the protest.”
When Mr. McCullough asked if he would be surprised to learn one of the accused, Dave Basi, had worked with Mr. McDonald on that issue and had “paid people $100 a head” to attend.
“It would not only surprise me, it would shock me,” Mr. Brown said.
Cross examination of Mr. Brown is to continue Tuesday when the case against Mr. Virk, Mr. Basi and Aneal Basi, continues.
Dear Mr. Foster, MLA:
In your letter below, you are inaccurate in your assessment of the BC Liberal party's understanding of the science of salmon farming impact on wild fish. I met this week with MAL Ministerial Assistant, R. J. Senko and Assistant Deputy Minister Harvey Sasaki and they actually believe that stickleback are the cause of sea lice on juvenile wild salmon in BC. This theory has been thoroughly debunked by scientists and is the joke of the BC non-government scientific community studying sea lice.
Your government is also behind the times on the advances in closed containment and thus you are hindering this Canadian industry from developing.
I find the BC Liberal government's obedience to the Norwegian salmon farming industry slavish. You need to examine the reality of the situation. No government in its right mind would hold a coast ransom for a foreign industry with as terrible an environmental and social record as the Norwegian salmon farming industry when the same fish grows here for free. The era of easy oil is clearly over, the situation in the Gulf of Mexico is going to terribly impact millions of people. The Norwegian salmon farming industry is raising Atlantic salmon in the Pacific - feeding them on fish from Chile, in pens that bar public access. It takes large amounts of oil to do this. Our wild salmon on the other hand produce far more jobs, return to this coast for free, supporting our economy, making oxygen and they are food security. Why is your government is so nervous about the Canadian public having free access to food?
These Norwegian salmon farms are unconstitutional in Canada as they privatize ocean spaces and attempt to own fish in the sovereign waters of Canada. There is a wall of secrecy around this industry guarded by the Liberal government of BC.
I challenge you, Mr. Foster, to go with me on fish farms as they pull up their nets and pump fish out of their pens and lets see what is actually in the pens. These Norwegian companies are not licensed for wild fish.
Many Norwegian salmon farms are operating on leases that the BC government stated there would never be salmon farms. Only the Fraser sockeye that migrate past salmon farms collapsed. Other south coast sockeye did better than DFO forecast and this is entirely consistent with this industry's record around the world. If fish farm disease is infecting Fraser sockeye, they would be carrying those pathogens north and exposing Rivers Inlet and Skeena salmon as well.
You can repeat things ad infinitum, but it does not make them true.
It is time to remove the Norwegian salmon farms from the waters of British Columbia because they are unconstitutional and also break the natural biological laws of wild salmon to the detriment of the present and future generations of Canadians. Invest in Canadians who are developing the solutions despite you and would provide better jobs and allow wild salmon to thrive. Everywhere in the North Pacific where there are no salmon farms, wild salmon are thriving! Why would we not try and have both wild and farmed salmon. It is long past time to move forward on this issue and stop denying the obvious.
The thousands of people at rally on May 8 at the Parliament Buildings are speaking to you. If you cannot hear them over the corporate interests you will bring your government down with this issue alone.
Alexandra Mortonwww.salmonaresacred.org -
Original Message -
From: Foster.MLA, Eric
To: Jim Mellors
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 10:58 AM
Subject: RE: [fishermenlist] New Video
Dear Mr. Mellors,
Thank you for your e-mail dated May 18, 2010 regarding salmon farming.
Upon my contact with the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, I have obtained some information on the matter.
I would like to assure you that a sustainable, stable aquaculture industry remains a top priority for government.
There have been some encouraging developments in closed containment systems but to date it is not yet possible to apply this technology at an industry-wide scale and government does support the evaluation of new technologies like closed containment to determine their viability. Our support to date has been in processes such as the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat review which summarized the state of knowledge on closed containment and salmon farming and the viability of closed containment systems has been part of our discussions with the federal government as we transition regulation to their jurisdiction.
I want to reiterate that government is well informed on the latest science related to this industry, which to date demonstrates that wild salmon and salmon farming can coexist. I also feel it is important to emphasize the value salmon farming brings to British Columbia’s coastal communities. The aquaculture industry provides an estimated 6,000 jobs and over $224 million in wages for British Columbians, with over half these jobs being filled by women and First Nations.
Government is committed to an effective, science-based regulation of fish farming practices in British Columbia and understands the importance that salmon bring to our communities all across the province.
Thank you for taking the time to inform me of your concerns.
Mr. Eric Foster, MLA