Mr. Speaker, the March issue of Treaty News , a publication of the Federal Treaty Negotiation Office, tells us that treaty negotiators must come to terms with some basic questions about the B.C. fisheries resource, including the types of access First Nations should have to fish and in general how fish should be allocated.
These questions have been settled by the Supreme Court of Canada. The court has acknowledged an inherent right to fish for food and for ceremonial and religious purposes. It has denied an inherent right to a commercial fishery unless it can be proven that sales were an integral part of a band's culture prior to contact with Europeans, something neither group participating in the pilot salmon sales projects was able to establish.
The court has ruled that the right to sell does not exist in isolation. Others, non-aboriginals, also have rights.
Questions about the allocation of fish have already been answered by the courts. They should not be renegotiated behind closed doors by federal bureaucrats operating under a secret mandate which ignores the Supreme Court of Canada.