We learn from the morning excuses for Vancouver Papers that the provincial government is hiding back reports of the impact of sea lice from fish farms on wild salmon. Why should we be surprised? The government has steadfastly refused to face up to this issue on the old standby political position of saying and doing nothing.
The government of BC’s handling of this issue has been disgraceful.
As soon as Gordon (Pinocchio) Campbell took office he began to deal with the moratorium the NDP had placed on the development of new fish farms. He started by returning all fines paid by fish farms for shoddy practices.
Then in full possession of the facts about Atlantic salmon escaping and crowding wild salmon off the spawning beds AND in full knowledge of the terrible impact of lice from fish farms on wild salmon smolts, he lifted the moratorium. For nine years Campbell and his ministers have maintained that fish farms were safe in the face of all the independent evidence to the contrary. The only fair description of the Campbell government is that they lied through their teeth.
In this prevaricating policy the Canwest media were in their camp. The fish farmers PR flack had steady access to their op-ed pages. First class writers on these two papers, writers who specialized in outdoors matters, wouldn’t touch the issue. Bad news about fish farms was buried in sidebar comments. Alexandra Morton, the hero from Echo Bay who started the research into the sea lice problem was ignored while turncoats like Patrick Moore had access to space.
We live in a country that gives Orders of Canada to the likes of Conrad Black, Alan Eagleson and Brian Mulroney and tries to put Alexandra Morton behind bars for “illegal testing”.
On June 17, Alex was honoured with an honourary Doctor of Science at Simon Fraser University. That to me, and I think Alex, was a higher compliment than the highly political Orders of Canada and Orders of BC would ever be.
I, along with many friends and compatriots watched Alex receive her honour and there wasn’t a dry eye amongst us.
Canada could do with fewer Mulroneys, Blacks and Eaglesons and with a hell of a lot more Dr. Alexandra Mortons.