Madam Speaker, in the House on October 14 I asked a question of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The question was quite clear. However, the lack of an answer I received was also very clear.
The rejection of the 30 day moratorium on fishing in the Atlantic region shows clearly that the minister is continuing to ignore the seriousness of the situation. The government has shown the people most directly concerned that it has absolutely no leadership. Through its clumsy handling of the situation the government has struck fear into the hearts of fishers in the towns and villages throughout Atlantic Canada. My question was very clear. What has the government done and what does it intend to do to restore a feeling of security and peace of mind to people in native and non-native communities?
The lack of the government's seriousness in regard to this very serious question shows how it does not understand the seriousness of the problem. The minister totally ignored the question and he tried to laugh at it. However, the answer was clear, the government had done nothing and was planning to doing nothing in our communities.
There has been no initiative to talk to people in our communities. That is clear. If we talk to people in our communities they tell us that there is a need for action and resources to bring our communities together. We cannot let the situation worsen, like the government has been doing with its lack of leadership.
The commercial fishermen of Fundy, Richibucto, Richibouctou-Village, Sainte-Anne, Saint-Thomas, Cap-Pelé and Port Elgin are wondering whether they still have a future in fishing.
Communities need to see leadership from this government, something that does not exist, at present.
We need to see leadership now, not a year from now. Both native and non-native communities need a strong government that will look after their welfare. This will only be accomplished by enforcing conservation measures and by putting in place rules and regulations that will ensure that the lobster, scallops and shrimp are there. If we do not take measures to conserve our natural resources, the victory which the natives achieved by the supreme court ruling will no longer be a victory because in 10 years there will be no resources.
There are serious fishermen who are worried. I spoke with fishermen yesterday. They are asking if they will be able to fish next spring. Will they be able to go out and fish? What will be the rules and regulations?
We should also talk about the lack of DFO officials on our waters; not only during this crisis, but before it. I went out on the wharfs this fall to talk to the fishermen while they were preparing to fish. At that point I heard a lot of complaints that there were not enough DFO officials on the water to protect the species. Now, with this additional crisis, we know that DFO manpower cannot handle it and will be further burdened if there is no leadership from the minister in Ottawa.
I hope that in the next couple of months this situation will be resolved, because there are more—