Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I know his legitimate and ongoing interest in these matters. Therefore I am pleased to provided those answers on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
The House knows of the recent Marshall decision, the consequences emanating from that decision and the policy responses of the government to deal with the problem of bringing the two disputed parties together for a negotiated settlement.
In that vein, Mr. James Mackenzie, our chief federal representative, has been very active in making contact with both aboriginal leaders and representatives of the commercial fishing industry. Mr. Mackenzie has been making initial contact in following up with both aboriginal leaders and representatives of the commercial fishing organizations since he was first appointed on October 15, 1999.
Mr. Mackenzie is currently in the maritimes holding meetings with commercial sector representatives. He met yesterday in White Point, Nova Scotia, with representatives of the commercial fishing industry. He is continuing to meet with commercial representatives in their towns and fishing communities to lay the groundwork for agreements that will facilitate the orderly operation of the fishery next season. Mr. Mackenzie is holding discussions with commercial representatives and seeking their views on an appropriate role in the process.
Commercial representatives can be assured that they will be fully consulted. Once a process is designed the government will be looking at funding these needs.
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has made the development of a short and long term strategy, which is responsive to the supreme court decision and takes into account the interest of the commercial fishing sector, his number one priority. He has indicated his continued willingness to meet with commercial fishing representatives and to listen to their concerns.
In addition, we are meeting with the aboriginal fishers and my own minister has done so. We will continue to look for a negotiated and peaceful settlement that is fair to all.