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37th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans


EVIDENCE

CONTENTS

Wednesday, May 29, 2002




¼ 1800
V         The Chair (Mr. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.))
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse (Chair, B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse

¼ 1805
V         The Chair

¼ 1810
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins (Delta—South Richmond, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Mike Staley (Senior Policy Adviser, B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission)

¼ 1815
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Mike Staley
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Mike Staley
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse

¼ 1820
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, Lib.)
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette (Guardian File Manager, B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission)

¼ 1825
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette

¼ 1830
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jean-Yves Roy (Matapédia—Matane, BQ)
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mike Staley
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse

¼ 1835
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jean-Yves Roy
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Cummins
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette

¼ 1840
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Cummins
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse

¼ 1845
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NDP)
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse

¼ 1850
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mike Staley
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair

¼ 1855
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Mike Staley
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Cummins

½ 1900
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Cummins
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Cummins
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         Mr. Cummins

½ 1905
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Cummins
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Mike Staley
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Cummins
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. James Lunney
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. James Lunney

½ 1910
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Lunney
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Lunney
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. James Lunney

½ 1915
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Lunney
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. James Lunney
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Andy Burton (Skeena, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Andy Burton
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Andy Burton
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Andy Burton

½ 1920
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Andy Burton
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer

½ 1925
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Mr. John Cummins
V         Mr. Arnie Narcisse
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Roxanna Laviolette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Alan Nixon (Committee Researcher)
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer

½ 1930
V         The Chair










CANADA

Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans


NUMBER 054 
l
1st SESSION 
l
37th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

¼  +(1800)  

[English]

+

    The Chair (Mr. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.)): We'll call the meeting to order. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee is doing a study of salmon fisheries management on the Fraser River.

    As you people are aware, we held hearings in Richmond, British Columbia. We felt we didn't have enough witnesses from the aboriginal community, so we're attempting to rectify that.

    We welcome the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission. We'll open it up for you people to have an opening statement of your own and then we'll turn to questions. Is that fine?

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse (Chair, B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission): Sure.

+-

    The Chair: With us is Arnie Narcisse.

    Arnie, I'll ask you to introduce the people with you. Then we will go from there.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: This is Michael Staley. Michael is the senior policy adviser for the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission and has a long history within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in terms of dealing with them.

    In terms of trying to put forward a coherent management perspective from the first nations, this is Ms. Roxanna Laviolette. She is currently working for the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission in the capacity of guardian file manager. She's presently working with Chris Dragseth, Heather Manley, and a number of others here in the Pacific region trying to straighten out the relationship between the AFO's guardians and C&P DFO personnel.

    I do have a bit of concern with the fact that we are the only Indians here today, Mr. Chairman. I only caught wind of this session on Monday through my aquaculture file manager, Ms. Diane Urban. It causes me a great deal of consternation that the Musqueam, the Tsawwassen, and the Stó:lõ Nation are not here, as well as the people from the Sumas River, who are also impacted by pilot sales and any potential changes to the pilot sales program. So I want to open with that statement.

    You're well aware of who we are, Mr. Chairman. I gave you the backgrounder at our last session that pointed out that we have been here for some 17 to 18 years and operate as a focal point for the 202 first nations here in the province of British Columbia. The role of the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission is not to represent first nations but to act as a communication focal point and as a facilitator for government-to-government interaction. The BCAFC provides for an efficient and effective means to support the dialogue and consultation that must occur in government-to-government relations.

    The BCAFC functions as a central coordinating body to assist first nations by providing technical assistance when requested, facilitating and coordinating communications and flow of information between first nations, by providing the forum for discussions on political and policy issues.

    In terms of the mandate, I'll skip over the majority of them, but I will highlight this one: furthering the rights and interests of first nations and responding to non-aboriginal challenges to aboriginal rights and existing treating rights. This is very much the vein I see this session in, as a challenge to those aboriginal treaty rights.

    As to my opening comments, our organization supports the assertion of the first nations that the aboriginal right includes the right to sell the fish, the right to realize a livelihood from the resources and inherent right that we practised long before the Europeans' arrival. The first nations on the lower river have in the main agreed in the interim to exercise these rights through the aboriginal fisheries strategy pilot sales program. These agreements are intended to deliver an orderly fishery that reduces uncertainties and provides for more certainty in the operations of the non-aboriginal fisheries. The first nations enter these agreements to cooperate with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and by doing so constrain the exercise of their rights. And I state that this is only in the interim.

    Many first nations throughout British Columbia are waiting to expand these sales arrangements so as to normalize their relationship with Canada on the issue of sales of fish. The pilot sales fisheries on the lower Fraser River are the most closely monitored and enforced fisheries on the coast, and Roxanna will elaborate upon that in a moment.

    No other salmon fishery has a mandatory landing program. DFO expends a disproportionate amount of enforcement effort on these fisheries as compared to their other duties. Compliance during these arrangements is extremely high when measures of infractions per unit of enforcement effort are viewed, and we can say this in all honesty, Mr. Chair.

    While these agreements have been in place, it has been the actions of some non-aboriginal commercial fishers that have threatened the operations of orderly fisheries management. I'll remind you of the actions of October 1996, when Mr. Cummins led that effort to protest the fishery.

    First nations have borne the cost of the illegal activities of elements of the commercial fleet. There have been cases where duly authorized first nations fishers have been threatened and endangered by the actions of commercial fishing vessels. This is still going on out in the community of Cheam, where recreational fishers are attempting to swamp our native fishers out there in their little boats.

¼  +-(1805)  

    In other cases, first nations have been denied agreed-to allocations because there was not enough allowable catch for the anticipated protest fishing by commercial fisheries. Again, I remind you that the sport fishery goes on 365 days a year.

    First nations are trying to work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to establish processes for managing all fisheries in the lower river. To date these proposals have not been responded to, let alone acted upon. For the past four years we have tabled, through resolutions of request to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans here in the Pacific region, proposals for the amount of $400,000, which would allow us to participate in a meaningful way at the PSARC and Pacific Salmon Commission levels.

    We are also working in conjunction with five federal agencies on an initiative called the policy dialogue forum, where we're looking at cooperative management arrangements that will look after fish, fisheries, and fish habitats.

    I must also point out that the benefits of the pilot sales program extend beyond the reserves and into the non-native communities. This was verified by the mayor of Mission at the Sto:lo Nation business conference this past spring, when I asked him the question, “Have you noticed the impact in your community when the native people go out on the pilot sales?” He said, “I sure do. We see your guys coming to the car lots, we see you coming to the grocery stores, we see you coming to the department stores.” So the benefits of these pilot sales fisheries extend beyond the native communities as well, Mr. Chair.

    Those are my opening statements in terms of this session. If you require any elaboration on the nature of the lower Fraser fisheries, Mr. Mike Staley will be more than happy to do that elaboration.

    Thank you.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Narcisse, for a very good presentation, given the amount of time you had to prepare it.

    We did, just for your information, attempt to invite the Musqueam Band, the Soowahlie Band, and the Tsawwassen First Nation. There were conflicts with the schedule, and some have stated they will present a written submission, so we will have that for the benefit of the committee when we get down to writing a report.

    Just before I turn to questions, there's one thing I wanted you to elaborate on if you could. You had mentioned recreational fisheries and some problems there in terms of your own people fishing. Could you expand on that a little bit?

¼  +-(1810)  

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Yes. In conversation with Chief June Quipp and some of the members from the Cheam community, they indicated to me they're still facing problems with the recreational fishers--people coming zipping by with their twin outboards. These guys are just in little piddly boats the size of this bloody table here, and they're getting swamped. There's all kinds of this bullshit going on out there.

+-

    The Chair: Is there any enforcement in those waters to prevent it?

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Very little, if any. This is what we've been talking about in terms of empowering all of our fisheries officers and guardians who undertake this type of activity well beyond the old RR responsibility we have here now. Any member of the public has that sort of capability.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    Turning now to questions, I'll go first to the Canadian Alliance and Mr. Cummins.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins (Delta—South Richmond, Canadian Alliance): Thank you very much.

    Thank you very much for being here today, Mr. Narcisse.

    In your presentation you mentioned an aboriginal right to sell fish. The Van der Peet decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, the NTC Smokehouse decision, and the Gladstone decision addressed that issue. In particular, Van der Peet found that the Sto:lo people had not demonstrated that right, and they put a test in place that had to be met if a right existed. Under the Gladstone decision, a right was demonstrated that the Heiltsuk people demonstrated that they did have a right to fish for spawn on kelp.

    So my question is, on what authority are you basing that assertion?

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: It is based on the assertion of the aboriginal right and the title that goes along with that right, sir. All you have to do is look at the history books. You look at the Wells Fargo records and the Hudson's Bay records; look at the transactions that took place there. It's written in the bloody history books, for Chrissake. It's only the actions of the cannery people in 1888 that pushed us off the river.

    We've come full circle in 114 short years. We're now seeing a similar effort here to keep us off the river and away from the economic benefits that go along with this fisheries resource. Basically, it goes with the fact that my skin is brown and that there is an aboriginal right and title to that fisheries resource.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Cummins.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: Mr. Narcisse, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that if someone is to demonstrate an aboriginal right to a commercial fishery, the commercial aspect had to be an integral part of the native community prior to contact, and the Sto:lo were not able to demonstrate that right. Is that not in direct contrast or conflict with your assertion?

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Again, this is a narrowing of the interpretation of the right. It's an attempt to say that only the Heiltsuk did this, only these people did that, and only these other people did that. It's ludicrous to assume that only certain pockets of people carried out economic exercises. It went on day by day.

    Mr. Staley can elaborate on this.

+-

    Mr. Mike Staley (Senior Policy Adviser, B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission): I was present through most of the trial, observing the evidence presented by both the crown and the defence. It was their understanding—I believe from both sides—that they were dealing with a set of tests for the evidence that weren't the set of tests the Supreme Court eventually came up with. Had those tests the Supreme Court has come out with in their final filings in Van der Peet been available to the counsels at trial, I would expect that different evidence would have been led.

    I've been informed by the Sto:lo that they are gathering that evidence and preparing if need be to redeliver it. But they're hoping that rather than spend millions of dollars on lawyers and courts they'll be able to come to some sort of more rational arrangement with Canada on this issue.

¼  +-(1815)  

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: In fact the Sto:lo did return to court after the Van der Peet decision was rendered. They went to court and they said their application was not properly heard. They requested that the court hear their evidence again, and the court refused. It said it had heard the evidence, that it had heard all it needed. It had put in place the test, and it felt that the Sto:lo had not met the test. To my knowledge, no one since that time, 1996, has attempted to demonstrate that they could indeed meet the test.

+-

    Mr. Mike Staley: They haven't gone to the courts to meet the test. Certainly on that issue I believe it merits some further negotiation.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Cummins.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: My point is, Mr. Staley, that the Sto:lo did go back to the court after the original decision was rendered. The court refused to hear them because it said that they did not and would not meet the test, based on the evidence that was presented.

+-

    Mr. Mike Staley: That's correct, based upon the evidence that was presented at trial in Van der Peet, but there is other evidence that hasn't been heard that is being prepared now. We would have to go to trial again through some other process.

+-

    The Chair: I'm coming back to you, John, but the whole purpose of our hearing on the Fraser was really to look at management of the fisheries on the Fraser River, and I'd like to steer us back to that area.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: In your presentation, Mr. Narcisse, you mentioned the Cheam Band. My understanding is that there was an agreement between DFO and the Cheam Band that was in effect between July and November of 2001 and that it had to do with the fishing arrangement between the Cheam and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Under this arrangement, DFO was required to announce in advance anytime it was going to come into the area where the Cheam were fishing. The fisheries officers were required to announce their presence prior to contact with Cheam fishermen. You talked about the enforcement--

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: It's only good manners, John, that they announce themselves. The initiative you're talking about is a safety protocol.

    Mr. John Cummins: Yes, that's correct.

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: It was designed by Mr. Glenn Kostiuk and a young lady named Ms. Denise Douglas, who is the sister of June Quipp, the Cheam chief. I'm very familiar with the situation you're talking about. So yes, they did have to announce their presence. I think it's only good manners that anybody announce their presence when they come into any of our territories.

    The initiative was a safety protocol that did what it was intended to do. There was no violence on the river; nobody was hurt. There was none of the bullshit swamping by the commercial fleet that's been taking place in recent years. So it did what it was supposed to do. It was a safety protocol and it carried out its intended activity.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: My point is that I don't think fisheries officers are in the habit of announcing their presence to either the commercial fleet or to sport fishermen. If they come across someone who's not in compliance, they announce themselves by offering a ticket for the infraction.

    With this agreement, it seems to me that the likelihood of apprehending someone who is engaged in misconduct is pretty limited. Does it not suggest to others involved in the fishery that there's different treatment here?

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Basically, you're alleging that we have the fox guarding the henhouse. We could say the same thing about the observers out on the commercial fleets on the high seas, the trawlers and all of these. This finger-pointing exercise can go on forever.

    I reviewed the minutes of the May 6 presentation, where somebody had suggested having various sectors observe each other. We're all for that. Our hands are clean. We'd be all for having our guys monitor other fisheries and having other fisheries monitor ours. We have nothing to hide.

¼  +-(1820)  

+-

    The Chair: John, can I interject for a second?

    How much advance notice is required, Mr. Narcisse, before DFO officers come in?

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: About three hours.

+-

    The Chair: Three hours.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: As long as they let them know they're coming. People don't go running out, hiding in the bushes and things like that, if that's what you're anticipating, that sort of response.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Cummins.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: I understand that, but I guess the perception among some may be that it makes it more difficult for DFO fisheries officers to--

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I'll point out to you the offer we made. Put some of your guys on the boat there, John. We welcome that, as long as we can observe your guys as well.

    Mr. John Cummins: Certainly.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse, we appreciate that offer. That's the first time we have heard it.

    I'll come back to you again later, John.

    Mr. Cuzner, with the Liberal Party.

+-

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, Lib.): Thank you.

    Again, the eyebrows sort of went up when the offer of the reciprocating monitoring agreement came out. It's something that I think has caught everybody's attention here today.

    With your conservation officers and your guardians, who is responsible for the training? Is there any joint training program with DFO? Maybe you can sort of delineate the difference between their scope of responsibility and that of the DFO officers.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I'll defer to Roxanna, and that's precisely why I brought her along. She is an ex-AFO, and can express to you the many frustrations that our fisheries officers and guardians have out there.

    Thank you.

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette (Guardian File Manager, B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission): I'm Roxanna Laviolette. I'll just give you the background of who I am and how I came to be working under the aboriginal fisheries strategy, in particular in the pilot sales agreements.

    I am trained as an aboriginal fisheries officer, a guardian. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible for the training package that was designed in the AFS program, albeit a very piecemeal program. It certainly hasn't served the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians to the fullest extent of their capacity, and I'm citing funding and lack of manpower.

    Through DFO and their guardian training program, the field training is the last component of the three phases that were delivered. It usually takes a fisheries officer who comes out of Regina two years in the field alongside colleagues and peers to do it.

    That did not happen for the aboriginal fisheries officers or guardians. The funding started to dry up in 1996, so future training was halted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. That virtually left every aboriginal fisheries officer and guardian in the province of British Columbia in a lurch in their training.

    If we're talking about capacity development and cultivating of aboriginal people for monitoring, enforcement, and such other activities within the fishery, this certainly has been lacking.

    We are still grappling with this today, although we just completed a three-day aboriginal resource management workshop to try to look at where the strengths and the weaknesses of this program are. We certainly know where the weaknesses are. They have been reviewed, written about; there are many reports about them.

    Also, I would like to see somebody start to take a good hard look at the benefits to all British Columbians, and people in Canada, to having aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians, and not just in a limited capacity under a pilot sales agreement.

    Mr. John Cummins, I certainly am very familiar with you, in particular in the lower Fraser, because I've worked for Tsawwassen First Nation for many years. I can't possibly understand why you would continue to oppress and suppress the aboriginal people who are looking out for the best interests of a fisheries resource that this country has so aptly benefited from. It's disturbing to the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians to continue to be limited.

¼  +-(1825)  

+-

    The Chair: Roxanna, I don't want to get into, if I can avoid it at all, a conflict down that line. I want to stay as close as I can to fisheries management.

    Continue.

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: That's fair enough.

    I'll turn to the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms under a pilot sales agreement.

    As Arnie mentioned, it is one of the most regulated fisheries. I know, because I'm there working on those fisheries in particular. Every fish is counted. There is nothing that escapes the aboriginal fisheries officers. Musqueam has four of them, and Tsawwassen has two, under their signed agreements. We've been out there since 1993. We've been executing pilot sales fisheries in an orderly fashion to ensure there is accountability and credibility with respect to monitoring aboriginal fisheries.

    Having those particular pilot fisheries and the demonstration we've been able to do over the years to prove that we can monitor fisheries...and not just aboriginal fisheries--we would like to be able to monitor commercial fisheries, and not just on salmon either; we're talking about all kinds of other fisheries. As the salmon stocks start to dwindle, there are other fisheries that are starting to come about. The aboriginal people are concerned about those other species as well--underutilized species.

    So here we have the thin edge of the wedge. If we are suppressed and not allowed to continue in the conservation and protection of the salmon resource as it stands today under AFS agreements, what's it going to look like for other fisheries that are going to start to be utilized, value-adding of underutilized species? That's very big in the eyes of British Columbia.

    To this I say I think it's high time the aboriginal fisheries strategy, and the pilot sales in particular, goes under a proper review--not just a review by other people making comments as to what they think that is, but really take a good look at what this program is, the benefits to all British Columbians and people across Canada, and the benefits to the resource. It will be a win-win situation, if we stop the “them and us”--really.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Roxanna.

    Mr. Cuzner.

+-

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner: So you're saying that the numbers aren't bad with the number of officers you have, it's just that there's a tremendous lack in training?

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: Absolutely, there is just a tremendous lack of training. The training that has been delivered has largely been substandard.

    The initial training in the program certainly had some problems right from the very beginning. The institution that delivered it--the Department of Fisheries and Oceans--was not happy with it. Therefore, they started stalling the training processes.

    It has been consistently moved around to different places in British Columbia. There has been no continuity in the training. This is hindering conservation and protection in a major way.

+-

    The Chair: Last question, Mr. Cuzner.

+-

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner: If I could just ask one, and then another quick one?

    The Chair: Okay, go ahead.

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Who actually pays your salary? I guess I should know this. Are they DFO employees?

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: My salary is paid through an AFS contribution agreement with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and by whichever first nation I execute the work under.

+-

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Is that how the conservation officers are paid, as well?

    A voice: Conservation agreements.

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: I am an officer. That's how I have been paid for my work in bringing my expertise to that particular pilot sales agreement.

+-

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Okay.

    Finally, does the commission have a branch doing your own science, or do you rely on DFO science?

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: We work in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Pacific Biological Station, with respect to science. If you're talking about the lower Fraser, in particular--

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Yes.

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: --first nations have done a number of things to align themselves with resource management and science. For instance, first nations have been involved in oolichan studies on the lower Fraser River. First nations have also been heavily involved with and part of the study and tagging programs or monitoring of Fraser River sturgeon. They've all been a part of stock assessment and enforcement regulations on the Fraser River. These were assigned under AFS agreements. Other first nations who are not under AFS agreements are also very much a part of the science.

¼  +-(1830)  

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Cuzner and Roxanna.

    Turning to the Bloc Québécois, Mr. Roy.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Jean-Yves Roy (Matapédia—Matane, BQ): Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr. Narcisse.

    My question goes back to what Mr. Cuzner was talking about earlier, but I would like to go a little further. Essentially, I would like to know what kind of relationships you have with the Fisheries and Oceans Department . How do you live with them? Are there any specific difficulties? Is it easy for you to meet with the people from DFO?

    Let us begin with the training program. You say that training is not sufficient. Do you have enough manpower to cover all your chosen mandates ? I am trying to understand the problems, because the interpretation service was not working very well.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I'll defer to Mike, and then I'll continue the statement. Thank you.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Staley.

+-

    Mr. Mike Staley: The B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission has a very limited staff. Most of us work on a part-time basis.

    On the question about science and our interaction, some of us who work with first nations wear many hats. We work as assistants to the commission, but we also work individually with first nations and elsewhere. We do interact on a regular basis with the science and management staff within DFO on things such as the data and understanding how the stocks are returning. We have a fairly good relationship with them.

    In terms of the commission's access to DFO staff and the minister, we have regular meetings with the regional director general. That has been ongoing now for the last several years. That seems to have improved the ability to make sure that issues are identified in the region.

    In terms of the minister, we'll get Arnie to speak to that in a moment.

    When you get beyond the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission to the individual first nations and their interaction on the field, they tend to have a relationship with field staff of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Sometimes the field staff aren't as well informed as they should be about the issues they're involved with. They're usually a mix of policy and operational issues.

    I would say that in the main the relationship between individual first nations and DFO isn't as good as it could be, in part because there are capacity issues on the part of both DFO and the first nations and a problem in understanding and communicating with one another. There are also outstanding policy issues, of course, some of which we've already talked about today. Those sort of bleed into the day-to-day operational issues.

    Arnie can speak about the contact at the political level.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Thanks, Mike.

    In terms of whether it's easy to meet with the minister, I think we met with Herb twice during his tenure. We met with Mr. Thibault once, immediately after his appointment.

    This is what I was alluding to in terms of my opening comments, Mr, Roy, the fact that I only caught wind of this session two days ago. There was very little time to put together a briefing package. If that is evidence of the disjoint between the Pacific region and Ottawa, it's something that needs to be rectified.

    I understand that the deputy minister is coming to town next week. We haven't even been given a “how do you do” as to the fact that he's coming, and here we are, the senior fisheries organization in British Columbia. If you can do anything to help with that situation, Mr. Roy, I'd appreciate it.

    To answer your question about whether there is enough staff out there, quite frankly, no.

    As to the training, there's a real problem getting our people beyond level 3. There seems to be a glass ceiling between levels 3 and 4. That is simply due to the fact that we can't get enough DFO C&P guys to hold our guys' hands for seven months or so for the field training component.

    That's what Mr. Staley was alluding to in terms of the lack of capacity on the part of both DFO and the first nations. That's why we pointed out to them that there's cost efficiency in amalgamating the efforts between DFO and the first nations, especially out in the hinterlands where there are very few eyes and ears. Our guys are out there. It's a cost-effective way of doing things. That is what I was talking about in terms of the reciprocating offer to monitor each other's fishery. Again, I extend that to the recreational and commercial communities as well.

    I think if we could begin with those sorts of discussions, we might get to some of the issues at the heart of the matter in terms of the management of the lower Fraser fisheries.

    Also, we might get away from this red herring that certain individuals are throwing on the table about the pilot sales. If anything, the pilot sales should be expanded. They should be taken out of pilot sales mode. They should say here's a recognition of your aboriginal right and some cognizance of the throne speech objective, which basically says we want to make lives better for our Indian people here in Canada. What better way than that to use the resource?

¼  +-(1835)  

+-

    The Chair: Last question, Mr. Roy.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Jean-Yves Roy: I would like to come back to training. You've stated that twice, but I would like to know what are, in your opinion, the consequences of that lack of training and that staff shortage. At a given time, we even met here in Ottawa with other Aboriginal people from British Columbia. When we started asking about training, these people answered that budgets had been cut by the Department and that training could no longer be provided. So, it was totally impossible to meet the criteria and the needs.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Apparently that's why we're entered into this dialogue forum with these other agencies. HRDC is part and parcel of that, as is Parks Canada, as well as Environment Canada, DFO and DIA. So the effort is intended to put HRDC on the hook in terms of the training capacity funding requirements, the resourcing of that activity.

    The reason Parks Canada is there is because of the marine protected area, the Oceans Act and all of the other issues. There's a real requirement for co-management of those areas. Again, those areas are in our own backyards. So in terms of Environment Canada, the people here, the Liberal government here in the province of British Columbia, have completely abdicated ecosystem integrity requirements with a gutting of their agencies.

    What I'm suggesting to the federal agencies is that we enter into direct bilateral negotiations with each other to look after water, species at risk, or anything that needs to be taken care of out here. So we're looking to HRDC to fund the training requirements, to spread the pain, if you will, among the federal family.

    Every time we go to DFO and ask them about training, they say that's not their mandate any more. We go to the Department of Indian Affairs, and they say “Didn't we give you guys $10,000 last year?” We say “Yes, you did, but we have 30 kids trying to go to school on that $10,000.”

    So that is the reality of the situation out here, Mr. Roy. We are attempting to develop the capacity to manage our own resources, and I think we're making great strides toward meeting that objective.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Narcisse.

    I have on my list Mr. Cummins, and then Mr. Stoffer.

    Mr. Cummins.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Ms. Laviolette, you talked about fisheries officers and the fisheries guardians. In the past, we've had fisheries guardians before the committee who have suggested that their position in fact is not a permanent one; they're there to serve at the discretion of the band council. So they might be an aboriginal fisheries officer one year, but not necessarily the next. Is that still the situation?

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: Certainly that is part of some of the big problems with the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians, when you have a first nation that is signing on to AFS agreements that only have a life of one year, instead of multi-year agreements that would put the aboriginal fisheries officers into more long-term employment under that particular agreement. But because the nature of the AFS agreements is such that they are signed yearly, and actually at the end of the fiscal year they start negotiating for the new AFS agreement for the following year, there's a gap. So is that particular first nation going to be signing on to an AFS agreement?

    First nations working under AFS agreements certainly haven't been happy with some of the agreements, working under AFS agreements, because they're restricting. But at the same time, yes, the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians do fall through the cracks because of those agreements that are signed on a year-to-year basis.

¼  +-(1840)  

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Laviolette.

    Mr. Cummins.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: I think one of the issues is public perception. Certainly you referenced the Tsawwassen Band. I recognize that you're not involved there now, but one of the problems over the years has been that some fisheries management officials from the Tsawwassen Band have been charged with poaching and illegal sales. I reference Mr. Mike Baird. As I understand it, after the charges were laid the band did not remove him from the position that he had as a fisheries management official. Do you see that as a problem when you make the statements or representations to the public at large?

+-

    The Chair: Ms. Laviolette.

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: As a matter of fact, Mr. Baird was removed from his position shortly after that. The community had to come together to take a look at that particular position and the charges that were laid. Yes, Mike Baird was relieved of his duties as fisheries director at that time.

    At that particular time I was not working for Tsawwassen either, so I really can't comment any further than to say what I've said.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    John.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: One of the problems in talking about fisheries guardians is that--and I think we've touched on it here--the funding is sessional or yearly. Would you propose a separate structure for aboriginal fisheries guardians, or does it serve? Certainly some aboriginals have become regular fisheries officers and are doing an outstanding job.

    In your view, then, what is the best way to handle that situation? Is it to bring people into the fold along with regular fisheries officers and assign them duties directly from the department, or is it for them to operate independently?

+-

    The Chair: Whoever wants to answer may do so.

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: I'll just quickly answer now, and then I'll transfer it to Arnie Narcisse.

    Having worked under the AFS agreements for a number of years, I see that one of the things that would probably go a long way towards resolving some of the issues with the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians, training and all of those sorts of things, is in schedule E portion of the agreement. This is the monitoring and enforcement component, and it should be separated out of any AFS agreements that are negotiated by first nations. If you did that you, you'd have at least a sense of autonomy for the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians.

    Also, if a budget is attached to that, it maintains their employment year-round, and their duties can be executed as the seasonal fisheries are coming upon them.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with aboriginal people who have gone right over from the aboriginal fisheries officer program, the guardian program, straight into the DFO ranks. I certainly encourage anyone who has the ability and wherewithal, someone who sees that as a career design, to do so. But there are many aboriginal people who feel that in order to build capacity for first nations internally for self-reliance and self-governance, they must have some sort of mechanism that supports infrastructure for conservation and protection within their particular territories.

    Yes, you do have two dividing minds on this, but if people were creative enough and willing enough, there could be something designed that would be beneficial for everyone.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Thank you.

    We're presently dealing with the guardian review that was tasked to a Mr. Bob Warren, who works for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It's been ongoing for about three years. There are four models entailed within that review that talk about everything from working directly for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to working for tribal organizations.

    The concept we have been forwarding to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been a return to the old generalist model. That's why we're calling them aboriginal resource managers. It doesn't deal strictly with a narrow enforcement aspect of their duties. It deals with habitat issues, and it deals with the education component, education and awareness, basically a wide range of duties the old green shirts used to have until they became a union and demanded more money for doing the same amount of work.

    What I'm basically saying is our guys are willing to do that same work for the amount of money they were making back then. I want to point out that Mr. Jordan Point, a Musqueam Band member, now works for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I think this should allay any fears as to the quality of the people we're putting out there in the field.

    Thank you.

¼  +-(1845)  

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Narcisse.

    John.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think Jordan Point actually appeared before this committee when he was a guardian with the Musqueam Band, and since that time he has transferred to the fisheries department. I couldn't agree more with you. He does an outstanding job and is an outstanding fisheries officer, one with a very promising career.

    If I could, I'll just back up, Mr. Narcisse, to where we were talking about Cheam and the difficulties there, in particular with the safety agreement. There were last year close to a hundred charges laid against Cheam Band members for fishing violations. The charges were not laid until the end of the season, yet some of the infractions were taking place when there were coho, which the department had flagged as being endangered, and certainly they were concerned about volume. Yet nothing happened during that critical time.

    What would the attitude be of the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission to these kinds of procedures, where the department doesn't take effective action during the course of the season but rather leaves it to the end to lay charges?

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I might point out to you, John, that the Cheam community instituted its own internal regulation where they were fishing on weekend days only. They were completely cognizant of the coho conservation issues that you speak of, and they responded to the upriver tribes' concerns. I might remind you that it was the Secwepemc people who brought this coho issue to the light of day in the first place.

    Mr. Anderson saw it as an opportunity to raise his profile and issued the coho edict that caused a lot of concern for a lot of people on the coast. A lot of people are saying “You're conserving them damn coho. I can't go fishing no more.” What are you going to do? You have to have a fine balance in there somewhere.

    But as to the charges being laid at the end of the season, that was part of the safety protocol agreement that I mentioned to you earlier. Quite frankly, those people are getting sick and tired of going to court. Some of them are dealing with charges that are two, three, four years old, and this is due to the fact that there was a magnifying glass put on that community for so long, simply because they would not re-sign their AFS agreements. Somebody said “We have to put the heat on these guys.” Consequently, they got a disproportionate number of charges.

    I have a piece of paper here from the last session. Somebody asked Paul Macgillivray to give a quick breakdown of the number of charges that were laid on the lower Fraser last year. His response was that in the recreational fisheries it was 253; the commercial fishery, 20; combined aboriginal and aboriginal pilot sales fisheries, 98; and unlicensed, 20.

    So if that tells you anything, I think you guys should be putting a hell of a lot more heat on the recreational community and taking our offer in terms of the reciprocating observation program I've been talking about.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Narcisse.

    Mr. Stoffer, with the NDP.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NDP): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    Thank you both for your presentation. I apologize for missing the initial stages of it.

    Sir, thank you for that offer. Have you made a formal offer of reciprocal officers, for example, to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans?

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Mr. Chris Dragseth was at the session about a month ago when we tabled this, and we will be formally tabling this offer in the very near future. We need to sit down with Chris Dragseth, Mr. John Davis, and a number of other senior personnel from within the Pacific region. We're fully prepared to enter into this arrangement.

¼  +-(1850)  

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: Maybe this is a question for Roxanna.

    Roxanna, how many different aboriginal bands are along the Fraser River as we speak?

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: We have 98 different bands from the mouth of the Fraser River up through to the middle Fraser River.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: One of the concerns we heard the last time I was on the west coast was that there may be a possibility of 98 different fishing plans to meet the needs of each and every separate band.

    How would you coordinate an effort so we don't get into that quagmire of 98 different aboriginal fishing plans and we somehow reach a consensus where there could be one major overall plan on the Fraser River itself? How would you conceive that?

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: Well, I'm probably not the best person to ask that question. I'll turn this over to Mike Staley. He has more experience in the area than I do.

+-

    The Chair: I believe Arnie was holding up a piece of paper there, too, to make a point.

    Go ahead, Mr. Staley, and then we'll turn to Arnie.

+-

    Mr. Mike Staley: Thank you.

    First of all, there wouldn't be 98 individual agreements. When we say there are 98 Indian bands, those are Indian Affairs dictated band councils and reserves. Politically and organizationally, there are more like 10 to 15 major groups on the Fraser River.

    During much of the last decade one of my roles was to manage a watershed-wide process where we brought these groups together on a monthly basis between the seasons and on a weekly basis during the salmon season to talk through the potential rubs between each other's fishing plans and some of those other issues. That met with some success.

    I don't think the spectre of 98 individual fishing plans is at all helpful to the situation. I think there are probably perhaps three to ten distinct types of approaches to fishing plans that will be taken on the river. I think we have some experience in trying to bring those together. I think more effort, both on the first nations' side and on the department's side, in trying to facilitate bringing those together is due.

    One of the programs the BCAFC has embarked on is trying to establish for the first nations a place where they could park some of their concerns and work with each other. I'll let Arnie speak to what we call the intertribal fisheries framework.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: The document I was holding up is this simple pamphlet we distribute to our communities. It's called Inter-Tribal Fisheries Framework: Together for Tomorrow. The second objective, speaking to this issue, is to develop processes for the coordinated management of shared stocks, while preserving the sovereignty of individual first nations over the implementation of their fishing rights.

    This document is the protocol on inter-tribal fisheries cooperation. It says the purpose is to facilitate the re-establishment of inter-tribal cooperation in the management of fisheries and fisheries resources. It talks about a commitment to objectives. It talks about a commitment to principles, the first being respect for the resource; the second being respect for fishing rights of other first nations in an open, honest, inclusive process; and the third being co-management by and among aboriginal groups.

    This is a very detailed document that talks about the ratification process and other actions in which first nations will be engaging in co-management of migratory stocks. This is an effort we've been working on for about three years.

    I just returned from the Skeena River area. I was there last week talking about this specific issue and the need for the Skeena River community to engage in a similar activity. These sorts of activities are well underway, and within the next year we should have this inter-tribal framework well in place.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse, would it be possible for you to send us a copy of that for our researcher? We'd appreciate that.

    Mr. Narcisse, in your opening remarks you talked about a process for managing the fishery on the lower Fraser. I think you alluded to some problems with the DFO in getting there. Is this the plan you're talking about, or is that something else?

¼  +-(1855)  

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Basically, DFO's onside. They realize their lives are going to be a hell of a lot easier once we're working together.

    I'll turn it over to Mike.

+-

    Mr. Mike Staley: If I can clarify, the framework Arnie's talking about was in and amongst first nations. The point was made in the opening remarks about trying to work with more than just the first nations--with some of the non-aboriginal interests as well. Certainly at the treaty tables, in trying to reach interim arrangements, overtures have been made by key first nation groups on the lower Fraser to find a table that could bring the interests together and try to facilitate the implementation of fishing plans. Those overtures have not met with any support from the federal government. Whether it's from DFO or not I don't know, because I think they've been routed mainly through the treaty process. Maybe the problem's not with DFO but elsewhere in that system--I don't know.

    I was working for a couple of the groups, and we have made proposals to try to structure management boards that would involve those other interests. Those proposals haven't been responded to yet, I guess.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Peter, go ahead.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    Mr. Narcisse, you talked earlier about the B.C. government and the sort of lack of attention to detail when it came to environmental concerns. You mentioned that maybe the federal government, through HRDC and other programs, should sort of...you didn't say backfill, but that's what it sounded like.

+-

     What has the B.C. government done, in terms of budget cuts to their environmental department and how they affect the environmental concerns of the Fraser River itself?

    Two, on the B.C. referendum they mailed out to all British Columbia citizens, what effect will that have on your treaty negotiations and other bands' treaty negotiations with the federal and provincial governments when it comes to access to the resource of, in this particular case, Fraser River salmon?

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: First, the referendum was a useless exercise that the majority of the population of British Columbia fortunately saw through. Some 700,000 people responded to it.

    Basically, in terms of the questions regarding the common property principle and other issues, I must remind the folks there is a process called the B.C. Treaty Commission process that's still underway here in the province of British Columbia. It is attempting to ascertain that exact issue of exactly who owns what--who has what right to which resources. From our perspective as aboriginal people, we have aboriginal right and title to those resources.

    That's my blunt response to the ludicrousness of the referendum. It was basically a red-neck attempt by Gordie and his gang to ride roughshod over our rights. This was the only promise they kept from their election platform. All the other promises they made about fixing education and fixing health...hell, they went by the wayside. The only promise they kept was to carry out the treaty referendum. So I don't know, take it for what you will.

+-

    The Chair: We don't want to get too deep into politics here, Peter.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: There are the environmental concerns as well.

+-

    The Chair: Yes. Could you respond on the environmental concerns, Arnie?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Sorry, I went off on a tangent.

+-

    The Chair: That happens to Peter occasionally, too. It's not unusual.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I know.

    Anyway, there used to be agencies that were tasked with looking after the habitat, water and nature in general. They've all been gutted. They don't even have the enforcement capacity to look after their own backyards any more. This is all an attempt by Gordon and his gang to make things better for the business community. You now regulate yourself. There are industry-based standards that people will operate by. If people want to talk about foxes guarding the hen house, this is the scenario that's happening out here on the British Columbia front.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    I'll turn again to Mr. Cummins, and then Mr. Lunney.

    Mr. Cuzner, do you have any more?

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner: No, I'm okay.

    The Chair: Mr. Cummins first.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    A few minutes ago you were talking about the inter-tribal fisheries framework. The point I was trying to make with the Cheam Band is that I think part of the issue there is that they were part of the Sto:lo group and opted out of that group because of a disagreement, I guess, with the majority of the group. The fishery they were operating over a period of a couple of years was one the majority group and the Sto:lo organization did not approve of.

    How does your group intend to deal with that sort of issue, Mr. Narcisse?

½  +-(1900)  

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: That's dealt with in terms of respect for the resource and respect for the fishing rights of first nations. Basically, the simple premise of this whole exercise is the cognizance that no matter where you're fishing, there's a whole bunch of people in front of you and a hell of a lot more people behind you waiting for that same fish, and the spawning ground requirement to look after and continue with this wonderful cycle.

    So in terms of all our efforts in dealing with Cheam directly, I'm talking to Chief June Quipp. I'm getting her onside on this issue, and I would anticipate that sooner rather than later they will be participants through this whole exercise.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: In his 1999 report the Auditor General of Canada noted that only 15% of the aboriginal bands required to submit licensing data under the AFS regulations were doing so. Of that 15%, most of it was unusable. If the purpose of the AFS regulations is to make things work better, how do you respond to the Auditor General's findings?

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I must admit I'm not certain as to what you're talking about, but if you're talking about the fact that these licences are unusable, I'll just have to point out communities like Gilford Island, where our boats are literally rotting on shore due to the Mifflin plan, buyback programs, and other wonderful programs that emanated out of Ottawa.

    I guess that's my only response. Our boats are rotting on shore. We can't get out to fish. The costs of licences are too damn high. Christ, the halibut licence is at $25 a pound. They've all been concentrated into a few hands. People with wherewithal, with the bucks in their back pockets, are gathering up and concentrating these licences, and now our guys have to somehow say, “Well, can I have a bit of your bycatch?” This is a bloody insult to me.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: I think we're mixing issues here. The issue you're talking about certainly is a problem for everyone who held a commercial licence. Of course, 30% of the commercial licence holders prior to 1992 were aboriginal, so there was a very high representation and they've certainly been hurt by the management of the fishery.

    But the issue the Auditor General was reporting on was the aboriginal fishing strategy. He noted that of the bands that were required to submit data as part of the requirement of the AFS strategy, only 15% of the bands were actually doing it. Of that 15%, most of the information was unusable. In other words, there wasn't a two-way flow of information here. The bands that were participating were not providing DFO with the information it needed to manage the fishery. So how do you respond to the Auditor General's findings?

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

+-

    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: The proposal we've tabled for the past four years running is to allow us to become participants in the PSARC process, to become participants in the PSE and all other agencies, so I don't know.

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: Mr. Cummins, I may be able to answer some of that, but I'm a little unclear. When you're talking about the licences that are issued to first nations communities, what kinds of licences are you talking about? Are you talking about food, social, and ceremonial licences? Are you talking about first nations people who are tasked with gathering the data as the fisheries are rolling out? Let's say if we're talking about a 48-hour fishery, are we talking about data that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and fish management requires from first nations who sign on to agreements to follow through and make sure the data of the fisheries is produced to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in a timely fashion?

    I think you need to be a little bit more specific about which licences and what types of fisheries are taking place.

+-

    Mr. John Cummins: It's not me; I'm talking about the Auditor General. The Auditor General was referring to agreements that were signed under the AFS regulations. His point was these agreements were signed, but the required reporting was not being done. In fact, he said it was only being done by 15% of the bands that signed on, and of those 15%, much of the information that was transmitted was not usable.

½  +-(1905)  

+-

    The Chair: Do you have anything more you can add, Ms. Laviolette?

    Go ahead.

+-

    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: I want to make a comment in defence of some of the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians who I know have worked out in the field.

    I can tell you very clearly that we are providing information to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the data that comes from our fisheries, even during the course of the fishery. While the fishery is underway, they can contact us at any given time and ask us. And in particular if we're talking about a food, social, and ceremonial fishery, where we're just tasked with a hailing system, not unlike the commercial sector has a hailing system, we give the information. We tell them exactly.

    Let's say it's eleven o'clock at night. We know exactly how many aboriginal vessels are out there fishing, and we know exactly how much fish has been hailed. We check those holds ourselves. We have a visual of these holds, so we know how much fish is being obtained throughout the fishery.

    Usually our fisheries are open on a weekend, or sometimes they're mid-week. But if their fisheries are taking place on a weekend, by Monday morning the Department of Fisheries and Ocean has accurate catch data from our fisheries, in particular. I know up in the Fraser River, upstream in Sto:lo country and everything else like that they do the same things. Mind you, the Sto:lo had difficulty with the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians in maintaining those people to be out there to do that. So if there are data missing from first nations, it's because they don't have the manpower to go out there and collect those data. And then it's the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to come in and fill that gap if they're looking for fisheries data throughout the fisheries under licensed fisheries.

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    The Chair: We might be, too, John, dealing with the matter of time here.

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    Mr. John Cummins: Have they informed the Auditor General that he got it wrong? That would be the next question. But I think Mr. Lunney has some questions, and others do, so....

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    The Chair: Yes, I'll turn to Mr. Lunney.

    Did you want to add anything else, Arnie?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I wanted to give Mike an opportunity to respond to this.

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    Mr. Mike Staley: I think we have to be clear about the kinds of reporting, the kinds of information. There is a variety of kinds of information that are required to reported under the AFS agreements. Some of them are administrative, and I would expect there probably are some difficulties in reporting all those administrative things because of capacity issues in some of the communities. And they're fairly onerous in some cases--administrative things.

    In terms of the catch reporting and the information required for fisheries management, I would say for the major species, and the ones you're focusing on concerning salmon, those catch reportings and effort reportings would not be characterized by that report of the Auditor General. There are circumstances on the coast, in particular, and perhaps elsewhere, where there are small fisheries for shellfish and others for which there are some difficulties in getting all of the catch information in a timely manner. But in terms of salmon fishing, salmon fisheries data, catch, effort, and so on of the major fisheries that take most of the catch of the aboriginal fisheries, it's my experience that those are reported in a timely manner and in an accurate and usable form for the fisheries managers, both in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and in the Pacific Salmon Commission.

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    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Staley. We have to go to Mr. Lunney. We may have time to come back to you.

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    Mr. John Cummins: Very quickly, Mr. Chairman, the Auditor General noted quite clearly that the information was bought, paid for, and not provided.

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    The Chair: I don't want to go down that road any further; we've had an exchange on it.

    Mr. Lunney.

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    Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I'd like to go back, Arnie, to your presentation at the beginning. Mr. Narcisse, you made a remark that sport fishing goes on 365 days a year. Could you expand on that for us? Is that a reality, that sport fishing goes on...? I'm not aware of anywhere on the coast that sport fishing goes on 365 days a year.

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I'll take you each and every day of the year and I'll find you a sporty out there.

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    Mr. James Lunney: You're saying it's illegal sport fishing you're talking about.

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: No, it's legal. What I'm saying is they're out there all the time. Nobody regulates them; nobody puts as much attention to them as they do to us. The fact of the matter is, they're licensed to be out there 365 days a year; we aren't.

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    Mr. James Lunney: That's news to me, and a bit of a surprise.

    Let me go to a remark made by Roxanna Laviolette. Roxanna, you made a remark that there can be a successful fishery if we can stop the “them and us.” I want to pick up on that. I really feel we have issues here that do need to be settled; they've been tied up so long in negotiations, and the failure of treaty settlements to come through has really compromised economic activity for all British Columbians--aboriginal and non-aboriginal. We're certainly hopeful we can somehow get past these obstacles and come to some realistic solutions. I'm curious what you mean by this and what you see as a possibility of advancing this cause and getting past the “them and us”.

½  +-(1910)  

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    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: I'll try to be as brief as I can. Certainly there are Department of Fisheries and Oceans C&P personnel who on an individual basis will extend themselves to work with the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians. For some reason, they seem to understand the merit of working together and combining and pooling the manpower and getting over cultural barriers, number one. They certainly take the time to recognize and honour the aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians--their traditional knowledge, their particular area, the people within the community. They link with them, and it works very well.

    I'll point specifically to Jordan Point, field supervisor, and Herb Redekopp, out of the Steveston division. In 1997 the three of us developed an enforcement protocol specific for that area, because what you have is three enforcement components all patrolling in the same area. At that time, nobody was really talking to each other. You'd see DFO go one way up the river, and we'd be heading down. We'd be doing gear counts and those sorts of things. We developed an enforcement protocol to ease manpower shortages. We were running 48-hour fisheries, with long shifts. The aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians were out there not just for eight hours; sometimes, I know, I've pulled 36-hour and 48-hour shifts myself without even going home. That was in the early days. So we developed this.

    These enforcement protocols can happen, and I think if the will of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is there to make these enforcement protocols happen, we'll have a lot less tension out in the field. I think the Department of Fisheries and Oceans personnel will start working with us more easily, and once that happens we're going to see a lot of good work will be conducted out in the field and a lot of animosity will disappear.

    In some areas, where it's very remote, there are aboriginal fisheries officers and guardians who don't see C&P personnel for days and days on end. There's a break in communication. There's a break in operational communication; there's a break in field staff communication. I think that's where it falls down, where the aboriginal people begin to feel they're being orphaned off in that particular territory and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans staff don't want to work with them. Or they find that DFO just comes out every five days and collects data from them. I think that would probably set anybody's teeth on edge.

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    The Chair: Thank you.

    Mr. Lunney, you can put a final question.

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    Mr. James Lunney: I have a couple more, Mr. Chair.

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    The Chair: My concern is we're going to run out of video time in 16 minutes.

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    Mr. James Lunney: Okay, thank you, Mr. Chair. I have a couple more, but I think it would be good to get a couple of these things out.

    Let's talk about some of the problems we're aware of here. When talking about the “them” and “us”, one of the challenges that comes into this is that with the pilot sales you're really working in a commercial fishery, and Mr. Narcisse contends it's an aboriginal right. But commercial fishermen need a licence, and there are rules and quotas. You have a problem, of course, when rules and quotas are different. If the aboriginal community is allocated a certain quota, and you're following the same rules, basically, as other people are and the same type of enforcement--and perhaps the suggestion you put on the table today of having some cross-enforcement to help your guardians where manpower is stretched would be helpful--do you see that as a possibility? Are you willing to go to the same types of enforcement or rules that everybody else has to follow in a commercial fishery?

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    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: We say that, time and again, and we live by those same rules and regulations. There are no special rules for us here, Mr. Lunney.

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    Mr. James Lunney: On the question of communal licences, where a community gets a licence rather than an individual having a licence, I understand that does create a problem in the sense that sometimes--at least we understand from the reports--the fishers are not even from the tribe that has the licence, or in some cases aren't even aboriginal people.

    Would you comment on that, Mr. Narcisse?

½  +-(1915)  

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: It wasn't we who determined the boundary lines. It wasn't we who said you can't come to our territory. It was the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that established these artificial boundary lines between us, right now saying that I, as a Stlatlimx person, can't go down to my brothers in Sto:Lo territory. I do. I go and catch the salmon down there because they're a hell of a lot firmer. They're nice and fat and shiny. So I can my fish down there.

    From my perspective, DFO has no business telling us where we can fish and how much we can fish for.

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    The Chair: Mr. Lunney.

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    Mr. James Lunney: Okay, but basically there's the question that the rules are for other fishermen, when they can fish and when they can't, and you're basically saying you shouldn't be subject to the same kinds of rules.

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: It's the aboriginal right there that I'm talking about. The rules and regulations are still subject to aboriginal right and title. There's a misperception or misconception by certain people that it's the other way around. These are the issues we're wrestling with out here in terms of the policy dialogue forum. We're trying to get at the heart of this policy-making machinery that has impacted us since 1888, as I stated.

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    Mr. James Lunney: But if rules and enforcement are not going to be the same.... Remember, there's only one resource for everybody. We're dealing with this “them and us” thing. There's one resource that everybody has to share somehow in dealing with this.

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: But there needs to be the cognizance of the priority of access, as well. We've been having a hell of a lot of difficulty with that. That's why I made a comment about the sport fishery going on 365 days a year. Some of our fisheries, in terms of the native communities, didn't even go 14 days in total last year. There's a hell of a lot of discrepancy there.

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    The Chair: Last question, James.

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Again, I'm laying the offer down for reciprocal observation. That's all I can offer. I'm telling you, our hands are clean. If you want to come out here and watch and monitor the fisheries for a few days.... I'd invite the whole committee to come out here to the Fraser River this year and observe these fisheries. Then you can see for your own eyes what we're telling you, the mandatory landing sites where fish are literally counted three times. You show me anywhere in the commercial or recreational sector that this type of activity is taking place. It sure as hell ain't.

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    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Lunney.

    Mr. Burton, and then Mr. Stoffer, quickly.

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    Mr. Andy Burton (Skeena, Canadian Alliance): Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

    I have one quick question, on the Skeena River, if I may. My riding is northwestern B.C., and of course the Skeena is part of it. I'm curious; just for my own edification here, could you please tell me exactly how many groups or bands you represent on the Skeena River?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: We work in conjunction with the Skeena Fisheries Commission, which I believe is made up of some 28 to 30 first nations.

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    Mr. Andy Burton: Okay, thank you. That would be what, probably a half dozen different groups overall?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: You have the Gitanyow, the Gitxsan--who are the other nations?--the Tsimshian....

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    Mr. Andy Burton: Okay, that's fine. We don't have much time here.

    My other question is on the management.... I'm sorry, how many?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: There are about 56. There are about 23 in Tsimshian territory alone. So we're dealing with Tsimshian, Gitxsan, Gitanyow, Gitxsan, Wet'suwet'en, Babine...a big territory.

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    Mr. Andy Burton: Thank you.

    On the Fraser River management issue--this is why we're here--I'm a little concerned over this three-hour notification prior to checking. With all due respect, there is supposed to be a system of checks and balances. If this three-hour notification is in place, I really question how effective it would be in terms of checking. To me it just doesn't seem the right way to do things. However, if this reciprocal offer of a reciprocal type of monitoring were to come into place, would that three-hour situation then disappear, or would it apply to all parties?

½  +-(1920)  

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    The Chair: Mr. Narcisse.

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Well, Wayne, that is a bilateral relationship that the Cheam and only the Cheam can dictate. They were the ones who entered into this relationship in good faith with the federal crown agency, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They were happy with it. I don't know what the hell the problem with it is here. The agency here that entered into that agreement is perfectly happy with that arrangement. It has carried out its intended activity to ensure safety on the river. They're going to take it from here. It's going to become more refined as they go along. This was merely the first step in ensuring safety in that neck of the river, that's all. They think they go beyond this.

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    The Chair: Last question, Mr. Burton.

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    Mr. Andy Burton: Okay, Mr. Narcisse, I appreciate that. My question, though, was if some sort of reciprocal management agreement among all parties comes into effect--in other words, I don't like to say “them” and “us”, but the other side would be coming in also to monitor--would that prerequisite warning still be in effect, or would it then disappear, as it would no longer be necessary?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: I would hope that the dialogue that leads into this sort of arrangement would allow for open and honest dialogue between the groups, and I would anticipate that eventually that three-hour thing would go by the wayside. If people are comfortable in knowing that everybody is getting their fair shake--everybody is getting the same treatment--then they'll be more than willing to come to the table.

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    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Burton.

    And I can certainly tell you, Mr. Narcisse, on the advance notices, one thing we have heard a lot of complaints on in the fishery--I know best the lobster fishery in the Atlantic--is if there were three hours notice given, there would be no one caught.

    Mr. Stoffer.

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    Mr. Peter Stoffer: Thank you again, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Narcisse, you said that we shouldn't have to tell you how much fish you could catch or where you could catch it. Is that correct?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Well, basically that's a term of the relationship between tribes. What I'm saying is that it's up to the tribes to carry each other, and they do indeed do that. And when they first announce the style of territory they have to have a letter from the chief saying you are allowed x number of fish and it's based on your family's size. That's how that works, and that's what I'm talking about.

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    Mr. Peter Stoffer: All right. This is the reason I asked that, sir. If there are 98 particular bands on the Fraser River, how many potential fishermen of the aboriginal community could there be?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Who knows? What I can tell you, though, is that the allocation contained within the AFS agreements merely gives 16.6 fish per person to the Tl'etinqox-t'in Nation. A nation of 6,000 people have an allocation of 110,000 pieces. This has not gone up once since the original agreement was signed. So you tell me how the hell the Indian is going to live on 16.6 fish per year when that's his only economic livelihood.

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    Mr. Peter Stoffer: Mr. Narcisse, I appreciate the historical aspect of the concerns you've expressed. There's no question about that. The reason I asked the question is this. I'm not sure you know who Mr. Bernd Christmas is, but he was one of the negotiators for the Mi'kmaq when it came to the Supreme Court decision on Marshall. He came to our committee representing the aboriginal people of the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick, and he said very clearly that he has no problems at all fishing under the same rules and regulations as anyone else, as long as they are part of the policy management decision-making. Would you believe in a statement of that nature?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: We sure the hell would. That's why we've been participating in the policy dialogue problem that's going on out here. I think you guys should become more aware of that initiative. Then you'll see that we are indeed aware of the big picture in terms of fish, fisheries, and fish habitat requirements.

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    Mr. Peter Stoffer: If your organization were able to sit with DFO along with the non-aboriginal groups as equal partners in the management of the Fraser River salmon, all fishing under the same rules and as long as you were equal partners in the management of that fish stock, would you agree to that?

½  +-(1925)  

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: We would until we saw what the final outcome of that exercise was. Basically, our participation to date has been minimal. There are advisory boards out there that literally dictate to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans how much their gang is going to be allocated this year. We don't have that sort of ability.

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    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Narcisse and Mr. Stoffer.

    The last questioner is Mr. Cummins.

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    Mr. John Cummins: You talked about a letter being required to indicate the number of fish an individual would be able to catch, based on family size. What would you consider to be a reasonable food fish requirement per individual, then, on a yearly basis?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: That is something the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been attempting to pin us down to since the beginning of discussions. If you want an answer, I'll give you a thousand pieces per Indian. Let's start with that. That may give us an opportunity to get a benefit from some of the economics of the fisheries.

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    Mr. John Cummins: Do you think there are enough fish in the Fraser River in any one year to cover a thousand per individual?

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    Mr. Arnie Narcisse: Something that hasn't been delved into is the benefits of terminal harvest. A few years back Dr. Parzival Copes wrote a book called The Profits of Justice: Restoring Aboriginal River Fisheries in British Columbia, in which he espoused the benefits of terminal harvest. He said you can accurately determine which fish you are taking so we don't get into situations such as we did last year, where the commercial fleet had to be shut right down to save the fish. Now we can ascertain this at the tail end, and the people who are doing the fishing are the rightful people who should be doing that fishing.

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    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: I'd just like to jump in here and make one last comment with respect to the numbers of fish for aboriginal people. I'll just go back to last year and fish management.

    There was a large gathering to take place at Tsawwassen First Nation. Very historical poles were being raised, and it was my job to request on behalf of the community a communal ceremonial licence from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We were going to have anywhere in the neighbourhood of one thousand to fifteen hundred people in attendance.

    I was told was that the formula of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the numbers of fish for aboriginal people was that one five-pound sockeye feeds six aboriginal people. That's their formula. It was very disturbing to hear that, but that's the formula they would give in order for me to say to the community that this is how many fish you're going to be given or granted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans under licence for this ceremonial session that's going to take place. That's their formula.

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    The Chair: But that was for that ceremonial event, correct?

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    Ms. Roxanna Laviolette: Yes. We got a licence for one hundred fish to feed over a thousand people.

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    The Chair: I am going to have to cut it there.

    Before the line goes dead, on behalf of the committee I'd like to thank Mr. Narcisse and your other witnesses for coming before us on short notice. I think we did have a very healthy exchange. We on the committee agree as well that we have to move forward here so we have better management on the Fraser River and less animosity. That's what we're trying to achieve.

    With that, thank you very much again for coming before the committee on short notice.

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    Mr. Peter Stoffer: Wayne, can I just mention something for our report for tomorrow?

    The Chair: Yes

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: Do you remember that we deferred one of the concerns about custodial management over the fish stocks in the nose and tail of the Grand Banks? In our east coast report, recommendation 9, we're sort of repeating ourselves again, in that--

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    The Chair: We looked at that yesterday, Peter. That's the one we looked at, isn't it, Alan?

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    Mr. Alan Nixon (Committee Researcher): It was recommendation 9.

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    Mr. Peter Stoffer: It concerns page 36 of our original east coast report and the government's response to that. Remember how Mr. Efford and others said that nothing has happened with NAFO over these particular years, right? I thought--just as a thought--we might want to refer to this report in our report of this time, saying we recommended similar types of proposals x number of years ago, but nothing has been done yet.

½  -(1930)  

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    The Chair: Okay, bring that stuff with you tomorrow, Peter.

    Thank you, folks, for hanging in there.

    The meeting is adjourned.