Mr. Speaker, the present situation is rather desperate.
A few years ago, the Atlantic groundfish strategy was put into place. Judging by its words, the federal government's intent was to face the problem head on, and to try to find a solution. In practice, however, nothing has been done, and the program has served instead merely as a support program.
Of course, people needed to survive, and they needed a minimum income to do so, but the fundamental objective of the program, which was to ensure diversity in regional economies, was not realized.
Today the hon. member is saying “Ought we not to have a committee, an in-depth study, a commission of inquiry?” Something to put the fisheries back on track. We have to find the right solution, and we must not have commissions lasting two, three, four, five or ten years, because the situation is urgent.
All manner of solutions have already been proposed by the people living on the coast, and proposals have been made in reports by various parliaments. Let us find a solution. It could be called a task force or go by some other name, but the important thing is that control over the decisions on this matter be given to elected representatives.
I think we have had proof already. The government authorities have abandoned their responsibilities in this area, in many cases turning them over to people who did not necessarily share the same concerns for developing the regions in question. The message I pick up from the hon. member is that yes, action is urgently needed, and that solutions require us to have a clear picture of the situation, but the action must be immediate. Action must be taken to allow these regional economies to get back on their feet promptly and not to have to continue to live with today's reality of a subsistence program for a number of years more, while the objective of economic diversification remains unmet. Nowadays, we no longer even dare refer to that objective.
The communities are up against a brick wall, with no future in sight. If this were not the case, it would be worthwhile for the House to follow up on the hon. member's motion.