Mr. Speaker, it is becoming more and more difficult as a British Columbian to stand here and listen to the smokescreen put up by Liberal members of the House.
The member for Charlottetown likes to describe this as a complicated issue. By so doing, he can set up a smokescreen to avoid accountability for what has essentially been a very simple, straightforward failing on the part of his government. That relates to two areas: lack of enforcement of the Fisheries Act and regulations and a lack of funding for the critical and priority areas of management on the west coast, and I am sure it applies to other areas of the country as well. There is nothing complicated about that.
The member likes to talk about a mythical element in terms of British Columbia's attachment to its resource. The mythical element is this. Where the government is when it comes to managing the fishery on the west coast? I have a high appreciation for the fisheries committee in what it is able to obtain and how much it can do it in a non-partisan way. I sat on that committee for a number of years. It is not the committee that is failing, it is the government.
It is one thing to log reports. It is another thing to be concerned about where it is all leading. This is now the fourth incident in 12 years where we have had a major collapse due to lack of enforcement and a lack of dedication of resources to managing the Fraser River fishery. We have other problems in the British Columbia fishery. This happens to be the one everybody is focusing on today.
There were reports written on the previous occasions as well and the recommendations were very similar. The evasions for government were very similar. The most recent one is that this is somehow probably all related to global warming. We know that is not true. We know the Mission counter was improved, despite the fact that the Mission counter was proven to do its job as early as 1992. We have had other investigations and reports look at it. There was major redundancy or duplication built into the way that counter admission worked in 2004. Yet the government is dragging up the same old criticisms of the system because it helps to diffuse and set up a smokescreen for what it did not do. What it did not do was manage the fishery.
This becomes not only difficult for people such as myself who sat on the fisheries committee. It is difficult for anyone involved in the fishery. It becomes extremely difficult for the population at large who are now on to the government. They know the government did not back its enforcement people this year. The entire Fraser Valley knows that because there are other people on the river. People go camping. They are there 24 hours a day. They saw what was happening on the river. They know fisheries officers who live in the community. They know what those officers were told. They know that there was no political will to support them. They know this is a long-standing circumstance. They know that probably 90% of the issue is those fish that were poached.
Instead we get an announcement and rhetoric that is 90% pointing everywhere else. That is not in anyone's interest. The minister made an announcement yesterday. The minister ignored the majority of the key recommendations made by the fisheries and oceans committee in its report, the very report we are talking about.
We know that the minister shut down part 2 of the Williams inquiry once it became clear that the evidence was pointing a finger at DFO mismanagement. We know that the minister's response came 25 days after the deadline he was given by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. We know the minister ignored the committee's recommendations to put an immediate halt to drift net fisheries between Mission and Hope on the Fraser River. We know the minister failed to send a clear signal that fisheries violations on the Fraser River this year would result in swift and severe repercussions.
The minister instead continues to depend on the goodwill of stakeholders. If people who poached salmon in 2004 are being asked to suddenly operate in a sense of cooperation and goodwill, what kind of credibility does that give to the minister?
Finally, on the call for a redeployment of fisheries officers during critical periods, give us a break. Those are also critical periods in other parts of the salmon fishery on the coast.