Cuts to Fisheries Dept Will Hurt Coastal Communities: NDP

MPs Fin Donnelly and Phil Toone are especially concerned for rural communities

OTTAWA – New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans critic, Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam), and Fisheries and Oceans deputy critic Phil Toone (Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine), criticized the Conservatives today over radical new cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“The Conservative government is continuing their pattern of neglect for Canada’s fisheries and coastal communities,” said Donnelly. “Staffing cuts will hurt conservation, science-based management, research and marine safety, proving once again that this government is out of touch with the priorities of our coastal communities and those that make a living from the fishery.”

Last Friday, the Public Service Alliance of Canada was informed that between 150 to 280 positions will be cut in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Many of the job cuts will be in the areas of science, ocean management, fish habitat management and conservation. Also, the department plans to shed 39 positions from the coast guard, further jeopardizing marine safety.

“The Conservatives have already announced that they are closing Coast Guard Search and Rescue Centres,” said Toone. “And now we learn they are cutting Coast Guard staff in marine communications and traffic services. This government is clearly more concerned about the bottom line than it is about the lives of fishers and mariners.”