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Feb 20 2010

from the Honourable Gerry Ritz

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Ministerial Correspondence – wrote:

Dear Ms. Judd:

Thank you for your email requesting my assistance with the collection of canned salmon for distribution to Native bands located near the Fraser River. I sincerely appreciate and applaud your kind efforts to coordinate a response to this situation. Your email is an example of Canadians individually taking initiatives to assist fellow Canadians.

You bring up two important issues, namely this year’s unusually low salmon count in the Fraser River and the circumstances of the First Nations people in the affected area. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is responsible for the market development of fish and seafood products and does not have jurisdiction in the areas you mention.

I am pleased to note that the Government of Canada is addressing the situation. On November 6, 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the appointment of the Honourable Bruce Cohen, Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, as a Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River. Justice Cohen’s mandate will be to investigate and report on the reasons for the decline and make recommendations for improving the sustainability of the sockeye salmon fishery in the Fraser River. The report resulting from the Inquiry will be submitted to the Government on or before May 1, 2011.

As for the impact on First Nations people near the Fraser River, I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your correspondence to the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon (the electoral district for Hell’s Gate and the Fraser River Valley), for consideration. I have also provided a copy of your email to the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

I wish you all the best in your endeavours. Again, thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

Gerry Ritz, PC, MP

c.c.: The Honourable Chuck Strahl, PC, MP

The Honourable Gail Shea, PC, MP

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