Politicians Duck the Question on Open Net Finfish Aquaculture Moratorium

November 12, 2012

In October, Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform Nova Scotia (ACAR-NS) asked NS provincial and federal elected representatives to declare their position on open net finfish aquaculture. (FPMB is one of the 100+ community groups that form this coalition.)

Background - Information Sent to Nova Scotia MPs and MLAs

This is a critical matter regarding both policy and economics for our coastal communities (affecting our immediate as well as long term futures). We wanted to know precisely the position of elected representatives on this issue.

Moratorium Question Posed to all NS MLAs and MPs

Each elected representative was sent a letter (reply requested in 30 days), with the following question:

Do you FAVOR PLACING ON HOLD immediately the issuance of all NEW and PENDING OPEN-NET FINFISH LEASES/LICENSES, including AMENDMENTS and EXPANSIONS TO EXISTING SITE LEASES/LICENSES, any STOCKING OF DORMANT SITES, and any RESTOCKING AND LICENSING RENEWAL Of EXISTING SITES of POOR ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE, unless or until an independent review can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no harm will come to our environment, our quality of life, and our extant industries from open net pen finfish farming?

YES _______            NO ______

The Results: 21% Responded

Of the 62 letters sent, a meagre 13 responses were received.

Party caucus position statements were received from 4 representatives:

Responses received referring solely to caucus positions (4 responses):

Although we appreciate having received party caucus positions, we did not ask where your party stands. We did not ask where your colleague, who has some party responsibility for this issue, stands. We asked: Where do YOU stand? Are you, or are you not in favour of a moratorium?

Constituents deserve that their elected officials educate themselves on critical local issues, formulate a position, state their position and can be counted on to speak for their electorate in the Legislature or Parliament. Ducking the question by hiding behind the party’s caucus statement is not good enough.

Other Responses:

Although Andrew Younger, MLA and Geoff Regan, MLA did not answer directly the question posed, they did provide responses:

Responses that Directly Answered the Question

Only ONE!

Kudos to Scott Brison, the ONE elected official who answered the question directly.

YES, he does FAVOR PLACING ON HOLD immediately the issuance of all new and pending open-net finfish leases/licenses.

No Response from 49 MPs and MLAs

If you do NOT see an MLA or MP listed here, it is because we received NO RESPONSE.

Are they representing Nova Scotians? Do they deserve to represent the citizens of Nova Scotia if they will not take the time to advise their constituents of their position on critical issues?

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