Hundreds of salmon farmers, their families, and supporters rallied outside the MP’s office in Campbell River today to protest pending shutdowns.
Carrying signs and banners while chanting, they marched from city hall, past Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices and through the downtown to North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney’s office on 10th Avenue.
United Steelworkers Union 1-1937 organized the rally. Local president Brian Butler spoke in support of the farmers, and said the union has members in the industry as well as the support and supply sector. He says government is making decisions based on politics and activist-led misinformation, not science.
“We shouldn’t have to be here today, but we’ve got a problem. We’ve got successive federal fisheries ministers who are making terrible decisions that will dramatically impact the livelihoods of people and communities all over coastal BC, and it is a shame that we’ve had to get to this point, because there is no reason to be making these decisions that have shut down 40% of the industry so far,” he says.
Butler says the forestry and aquaculture industries are facing the same foes.
“Both industries are facing the consequence of misinformation from environmental groups, as well as political opportunism from our elected officials, including Rachel Blaney,” he says. “When misinformation is spread by environmental groups, it’s not based on science, it’s not based on any evidence. It meets their goals of fundraising and shutting down industries, which seems to be their goal for both forestry and in the fish farming industry.”
Several city councilors attended to show their support, including Ron Kerr, who took the mic.
“Hopefully this event and more like it will send a message to Ottawa that we’re not going to roll over,” he says. “Be sure, you have city council’s full support.”
The BC industry is protesting government plans to move all farms out of the Pacific ocean. A long-promised transition plan has not yet been revealed by the federal fisheries ministry.