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NL shouldn’t give up fishing rights in CETA, says Council of Canadians

CETA Trojan HorseSt. John's – The Council of Canadians St. John's chapter is calling on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to protect its constitutional right to minimum processing requirements for fish, not trade it away for a short-term cash infusion. The provincial government is reportedly still negotiating the $400-million federal compensation package in exchange for its support of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

St. John’s chapter representative Ken Kavanagh calls it a desperate move that sacrifices the long-term interests of Newfoundland and Labrador. He says that, at a minimum, residents should be consulted.

“These minimum processing regulations are what keeps jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador, and they are part of our legacy, a solemn promise made to us when we joined Canada,” says Kavanagh. “Our fishery is a renewable resource that has great potential for wealth generation and job creation. We must protect it.”

Kavanagh said such an important decision, which could jeopardize the province’s economic sustainability, cannot be made behind closed doors.

“The government says that it wishes to consult people, promising us the Renewal Initiative. In this instance, it has clearly not consulted people on how to promote a sustainable economy, a vital concern for us all,” says Kavanagh. “The old saying applies: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ In this instance, the one-time pot of cash robs us of a lifetime opportunity to earn the maximum economic benefit from our fish resources.”