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Mar 13 2010

Canada's fiduciary duty and forced starvation:

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Written on March 12th 2010

So, the Federal Government is Constitutionally required to manage the salmon and First Nations have a never ending lien on that salmon. Where does that leave Canada and what does that mean for the Natives, Canada and the salmon?

Canada’s natural resource give away plays a big part in habitat destruction. Like giving away clean water to fish farms that pollute the salmon water ways with sea lice and pesticide. Tree farm licences where logging puts so much silt in the rivers that salmon eggs can’t hatch. Digging out gravel in the spawning beds (was it flood control or a money grab?). Water licences for farm irrigation that lowers water levels in salmon rivers. Hydroelectric dams and development run off into lakes and streams. Mining and blasting change the landscape while climate change raises water temperature. And the never ending debate over Native fishing. Yep, in Canada we blame the victim, steal their fish and blame them for trying to claim their inheritance.

We took away their kids, abused them and killed them with smallpox. We made them second class citizens. We don’t safeguard their language or traditions. Today, our natives fill Canada’s jails in outrageous numbers. We outsourced their art to China for the Olympics. We stole their food and now their future is in peril because salmon are “absolutely necessary to the existence of the Native people”.

The attacks on salmon and salmon habitat seem insurmountable. The species may survive but I watched a video called “Last Wild Salmon” (from the Okanagan Library) and large numbers of salmon are extinct in BC rivers that used to flourish with salmon. It’s absolutely astonishing that as long as the species exists somewhere, an elected official can overlook the barren spawning grounds where salmon are extinct now and believe that no species in danger of extinction.

So, why have our Governments allowed habitat destruction? Has Canada ever lived up to it’s obligation of salmon for First Nations? Did our Government react swiftly to rectify this salmon shortage food crisis? Someone in DFO called an “alleged” lack of social services.

I wonder if this latest treaty, signed when parliament was prorogued, has anything to do with Canada’s obligation? The salmon are losing the fight against habitat destruction, they return less and less each year so as the salmon struggle with extinction, Canada decides to give the First Nations what they already had. In other words, as long as the salmon resource is dying we can now give them that problem and hope they can solve it. Oh, but before we give it outright we’ll give the fish farms one more year to destroy more of the few existing salmon while we wait for some lawyers to tell us why salmon are going extinct. As Mel Brooks said… in politics and history – it really ain’t no mystery – EVERYTHING is show biz!

Canada has not managed the salmon to ensure our Native people are eating. Canada manages media perception. The demise of wild salmon could be perceived as a forced starvation.

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