Fin in the House: When will the minister do the right thing and protect west coast wild salmon

Mr. Fin Donnelly (Port Moody—Coquitlam, NDP): Mr. Speaker, we were just shocked to hear the Liberals' response and that they are passing the buck to the provinces on first nations health and the environment. A study funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans confirmed a deadly disease has reached B.C. salmon farms. This disease is the third-largest killer of salmon in Norway, and now it is on our coast. If this disease grows, it will not only devastate farm salmon but wild salmon as well. When will the minister do the right thing, strengthen the Fisheries Act, and protect west coast wild salmon? Thousands of jobs are at stake.

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague that we need to strengthen the Fisheries Act. One of the things the Prime Minister has asked me to do is work with members of the standing committee, including the member who just asked the question, to strengthen the Fisheries Act and to restore lost protections which were deleted some years ago. I look forward to that work with him.

With respect to investing in the science and the proper oversight to ensure that aquaculture operations on every coast can be done safely, the member knows we are committed to doing that. The member knows that we believe that middle class economic opportunities on both coasts depend on aquaculture and wild fisheries, and we think the two can coexist safely together.