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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on 
Fisheries and Oceans

Issue 6 - Evidence, May 5, 2005

OTTAWA, Thursday, May 5, 2005

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans met this day at 10:52 a.m. to examine and report on issues relating to the federal government's new and evolving policy framework for managing Canada's fisheries and oceans.

Senator Gerald J. Comeau (Chairman) in the chair.


The Chairman: I call the meeting to order. We are continuing our examination on issues relating to the federal government's new and evolving policy framework for managing Canada's fisheries and oceans. As members will know, we have been concentrating mainly on the impact of government fisheries policies on communities.

We are fortunate this morning to have two gentlemen from Nova Scotia with long and illustrious careers in municipal politics. The first is the Mayor of Lunenburg, His Worship Laurence Mawhinney.

For those who may not know, Lunenburg is synonymous with fishing, schooners and shipbuilding. You should also know that Lunenburg was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995. It ranks with such places as Stonehenge, the pyramids of Egypt and the Galapagos Islands. As such, it is a place worth visiting for every Canadian and non- Canadian.

His Worship Laurence Mawhinney has been councillor since 1976 and mayor since 1979, so he has a vast amount of experience to share with us.

His Worship Ray White, Mayor of Canso, has fought long and hard for his town for many years. He has been mayor since the 1980s. Canso is the oldest fishing port in North America. It dates back to 1504, although the mayor may suggest that it dates back even further. It is one of the oldest incorporated towns in Canada.

Welcome, gentlemen. We look forward to your presentation and to having a question and answer session with you, because we know that you have a rich history to tell us about as well as suggestions that may help this committee in its study.

His Worship Ray White, Mayor, Town of Canso, Nova Scotia: It is an honour to be here today to represent the council and citizens of Canso. The comments I will make today were arrived at in consultation with a number of groups, which I have acknowledged at the end of my presentation. I want to provide the committee with some history of our community, both recent and past, the impact that some of the decisions on fishery policy are having on our community, and the efforts we are making to diversify our economy.

Prior to the 18th century, early explorers visited the waters off Canso. Marc Lescarbot, one of Champlain's contemporaries and author of The History of New France, met a Basque fishing vessel off of White Haven, just outside Canso, in 1697. The Basque, Captain Savalet, said that prior to that meeting he had already made 42 voyages to the Canso area.

We know from our history that government involvement in Canso goes back to the very beginning, because the English and French used to fight over the ownership of the islands off Canso because of the lucrative fishery. Government involvement has a long history in our community.

Canso is one of the first communities to pioneer the freezing of fish, which diversified exports of that product. Offshore presence in Canso dates back to the 1900s, and the pioneering of the use of steam on vessels began at that port. We developed an extensive offshore presence in Atlantic Canada. We had between 13 and 18 vessels. A unique aspect is that our vessels would alternate weekly between landing in Newfoundland and in Canso. Therefore, we had not only a Nova Scotian presence but an Atlantic-wide presence, developing a history in that area that was not later recognized under government policies. It is important to know that Canso developed early in the offshore fishery. We fished as far as area O between Greenland and Labrador.

In the North Atlantic fishery, Canso has the advantage of location, location, location. Current species of snow crab, shrimp, tuna, herring and mackerel are just off our doorstep. That has been both an opportunity and an irritant, which I will discuss later.

Government policies over the years have focused our efforts on the offshore. Our community became the home for mobile shrimp and tuna fleets, as two examples. Although very active, our inshore fleet is, for the most part, based on the near shore, on fisheries such as lobster; pot shrimp; tuna, although limited; shrimp and crab. Other communities throughout Nova Scotia developed very efficient and large offshore fleets that provide resources for their smaller, more efficient, plants.

Canso is all but devoid of a mobile fleet, which is important to note because it does have implications. Others have access to hundreds of these licences. In Guysborough County, we have fewer than 10, and Canso as a whole has even fewer.

For example, when the eastern Nova Scotia shrimp fishery took off, the stock was allocated almost exclusively to mobile licence holders in Southwest Nova and the Gulf, which is New Brunswick. Nothing was reserved for adjacent interests. Our fishermen were given neither the time to retool nor allocations in order to develop a mobile fleet locally. Again, government looked at our dependence on the offshore fleet.

While others fishing tuna could call Canso their home port, under the licence conditions we were not able to purchase tuna licences, and much of the last six or seven years has been spent working with DFO and the industry to try to gain access to that lucrative fishery. All the vessels in the picture on page 5 of my brief are from elsewhere. They are fishing tuna off our doorstep, yet, because of our historical attachment with the offshore, local fishermen could not purchase tuna licences. Therefore, the two or three licensees that we have fish off Canso. It is irritating that everything is offshore of Canso but we do not have access to it for one reason or another.

I will move on to “Government Interference in the Marketplace.” In 1989-90 National Sea Products, NatSea, decided that they would close the plant in Canso. The announcement was made in the fall of 1989 that they would leave the community. The effort put out by the community at that time has been well documented. I was told at a media conference that we were the third most covered news story in 1989-90 after Meech Lake and Oka, which was a surprise to me. We had an historic right to be there and we could prove that there was quota attached to the plant that should stay with the community instead of being moved to another area. We were able to find a buyer and, working with the federal government, we were able to put together a package that some people called the “Canso deal.”

I will take you through the history of what happened to that, because some people perceive today that we still have a quota that would enable us to run the existing plant; so these numbers come into play.

In 1990, DFO provided Seafreez Foods Inc. with approximately 127,000 tonnes of fish, an additional 100,000 tonnes for quota barter privileges and 27,000 tonnes of developmental species. Seafreez Foods Inc. purchased 20,000 tonnes of Enterprise Allocations (EA) from National Sea Products. That provided the foundation to rebuild and reopen the plant. Within three years, DFO cancelled or withdrew the developmental quota and barter privileges. Why? Seafreez has told us that it was because of the amount of unjustified lobbying by certain factions of the industry and that there should not be a special deal. The vast majority of the quota purchased from NatSea went under moratorium in that thee-year period, leaving about 2,800 tonnes available to the company. Of the 2,800 tonnes, only about 2,200 tonnes are located in the Scotia Fundy region and are comprised of small amounts of varying species located at considerable distances from the Canso plant making it not viable economically to sustain the fish plant.

At times government officials have claimed that Seafreez has sufficient enterprise allocations to run the Canso operation. We did a study in 1989 that we never released. We kept referring to it and the government wondered what we had. We said that the plant could remain viable if you did certain things. The study indicated that you needed 18,000 tonnes. You can see from what is left of the numbers that there is not enough to run a plant. By the mid-1990s, Seafreez was faced with no fish, an aging and inefficient plant, and a fleet of vessels at least 30 years old. The Seafreez team retooled and started an aggressive program of diversification. A crab line was installed to handle what appeared to be a growing abundance in the snow crab population in our area and a state-of-the-art shrimp peeling processing plant to handle what appeared to be a stable Eastern Nova Scotia shrimp resource.

With respect to shrimp, Seafreez was able to leverage their small remaining groundfish allocations with the South West Nova Scotia mobile shrimp fleet. Shrimp license holders were offered fair market price for their shrimp resource and, in turn, were given charter rights to the miscellaneous groundfish allocations that were inefficient, production- wise, to the Canso plant.

The quota I mentioned was spread out all over Nova Scotia and they were able to entice the mobile fleets to catch that fish and land their shrimp quota in Canso. It was a barter arrangement that worked very well and provided a resource for the mobile fleet that would not normally be caught by Seafreez because the location was too remote. It brought sizable shrimp quota to the plant. As well, the company installed pelagic machinery and by 2001 we were operating four separate plants within the single complex of Seafreez. We were doing shrimp, shellfish and pelagics within that one plant; so the future looked good. The company had made an investment and the community had supported it.

Senators, the next set of numbers is important. In November 1990, the efforts resulted in 268 full-time equivalent jobs at the plant. In November 1992, that averaged around 217; so we were in the area of 200 full-time equivalents. The barter fish privileges, which I mentioned earlier, were withdrawn, so the company bought fish frozen at sea, or FAS, like many other communities did in Eastern Canada. The full-time equivalents went from 136 up to 153. Again, the community was faced with the challenge to find a resource. In 1998-99, because everyone else was buying FAS fish, the costs became prohibitive and it was no longer viable. At the same time, we were faced with the grid-action groundfish. We went from 268 full-time equivalents down to 57 to 97 full-time equivalents at the plant. Rather than give up on the community, Seafreez retooled and installed the new crab lines and shrimp plant, which I mentioned before, at an investment of about $8 million. That brought the full-time equivalents back to 163.

I want to deal now with the Canso Production and the Impact of the Marshall decision. I will say this several times. Our community believes in the right of the Aboriginal communities to access the resource. The first sentence I will say is: What we are talking about is not the Marshall decision; it is not the rights which we believe Aboriginal communities have to the resource but how the federal government implemented the Marshall decision. That is where our concern is. I want to emphasize that to set the stage.

Our position and comments on this have nothing to do with ill-will towards the various native communities or interests benefiting from the consolidation of quota in the Arichat area across the bay from our community. These are our neighbours and our fellow fishermen, and we wish them well. Similarly, we have no ill feelings against the Supreme Court ruling in Marshall. The point we wish to make is that both Canso and, in our opinion, the native communities would have been better served had the resource acquired for the Aboriginal fishery been sourced from multiple management areas and, with respect to shrimp and crab, not taken from Eastern Nova Scotia.

Three areas surround our community: The Newfoundland region, the Gulf and Scotia Fundy. The numbers I will quote point out to you that in the case of shrimp, Scotia Fundy had the smallest quota. However, because of the government's attempt to secure licences to meet the requirements resulting from Marshall, all the licences were accessed from Eastern Nova Scotia, where we live. I will quote two numbers only: The Gulf area had a quota of 30,000 tonnes, and our area of Eastern Nova Scotia had only 5,500 tonnes at best. However, in order to secure licences, DFO secured 6 for the the Eskasoni Band but had committed themselves to 10. Instead of spreading the resource out, which we thought would have been fair by taking three from each region or three, three, and four, all of that was taken from our area. What are the implications? What could that mean?

We have looked at how the federal government approaches access and allocations to native communities. Federal negotiators were appointed from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. These negotiators were provided with operating terms of reference that detailed their mandate, objectives and key negotiating principles. I do not know if I need to quote all R. v. Gladstone, because I am sure that this committee has discussed this. However, it does set out some important tenets that have to be considered.

First, we have to look at conservation; second, we have to look at the importance of the fact that native communities are part of a larger community to which we all belong. For any decision related to Marshall to be implemented, those considerations are important. In my submission I put in italics the consideration that we think affects our community and other communities:

With regards to the distribution of the fisheries resource after conservation goals have been met, objectives such as the pursuit of economic and regional fairness, and the recognition of the historical reliance upon, and participation in, the fishery by non-aboriginal groups, are the type of objectives which can (at least in the right circumstances) satisfy this standard.

It is important for all of us that the tenets laid down here look at conservation, reasonable fairness and the recognition that non-Aboriginal communities have historic reliance on the fishery and that they be considered.

The following mandate provided to the federal fisheries negotiator includes these elements of historic relevance and sensitivity:

Respect for conservation — no one would dispute that.

Respect for treaties and honouring federal obligations — no one would dispute that.

Community-level agreements without prejudice to positions advanced in broader DIAND-led negotiations.

Development of Aboriginal co-management arrangements.

Sensitivity to the needs of established fishing communities.

These are all important goals which we can all support. However, these guidelines, where sensitivity should have been applied, may not have been followed. They have had a major impact on our committee.

The government's response was aggressively pursued. Given the key principles provided by the negotiators, the real question today relates to performance. Were the negotiators successful in following the points I brought up? Did the terms of reference in the implementation of Marshall go far enough? Was the impact on processing communities adequately considered?

The inshore and offshore fishermen groups throughout Nova Scotia, in our area, talk about the aggressive nature in which DFO would purchase licences, which inflated the costs for the average person to purchase a licence today or for communities to acquire quota. I do not think the intent was to cause that to happen. The intent was to meet the obligations under the Marshall decision, to provide the access that Aboriginal communities should have to the fishery. In going out to get the licences, the federal government sometimes has a deeper pocket than individuals and communities in carrying out its mandate.

The other question is: What about the impact on processors? I will allude to that in a few minutes. Was there a meeting or consultation with processors and processing-dependent communities in regard to the Marshall roll-out? We have never been to a meeting. Our offshore processor knows of no such meeting, but one would assume if you are carrying out the tenets of the guidelines, the logical sequence would be to make sure that all the tenets are met — conservation, fairness, and so on; but then what are the implications of these decisions on historic processing communities?

I do not need to read all of this to you; you have seen that the government could have had the option to go into the management areas, acquire some of those licences, and provide those to meet the Marshall requirements. Instead, they took them all from our area.

Was an evaluation done to see if there would be an impact on communities by doing that? I know of none. What is the direct result? We obviously know what the impact has been on our community. It has translated to the removal of the most modern shrimp plant in Canada, and the rendering of crab processing uneconomical in the third oldest crab plant in Nova Scotia. The bulk of the shrimp and crab resources were stripped away from our plant and transferred 14 miles across the bay to the Arichat/Petit de Grat area. Shrimp trawlers that had landed in Canso for up to the last 20 years were purchased by the Eskasoni Band and transferred to Petit de Grat. The chart on the next page shows very clearly the implication of that on our community.

Seafreez retooled with a new crab line and new shrimp plant. We went from 163 prior to the implementation of the Marshall policy down to 25 people working at the plant. Two weeks ago, 55 workers from our plant went to Surrey, Prince Edward Island, so they could get enough work to provide staples for their families. They would rather stay in Canso and work; they could not, but fortunately they were able to find work elsewhere.

If we were not able to purchase snow crab from the Gulf, our plant would not be in operation today. The Marshall decision, the roll-out by the federal government, has had a major impact on our community. Again, that is no fault of the native communities and no fault of those who have benefited from it. I do not think anyone ever intended that it would happen. The weakness is lack of consultation with the processors, who are not in this mix, and the communities most directly affected. That is something the committee certainly can consider.

When I talk about Canso, 60 per cent of the workers who normally work at the Canso sea plant come from a catchment area of communities called White Head and Port Felix. We have people coming from as far away as Monastery, which is 83 kilometres away, to work at the plant. The catchment area affected is over 3,000 people.

We have had a downturn in our retail sector. We have had a reduction in the need for water, which relates to our public works utility. There has been an impact on the infrastructure of our community. A number of families have moved away. We will indicate what we are doing to counter that, but it has put a major economic strain on our community. The company had invested up to $8 million in diversification, only to see that eroded away.

Again, we are not blaming our neighbours, native and non-native alike, for the harvesting and processing advantages they have gained. However, in our opinion the Supreme Court's concepts of economic and regional fairness have been totally ignored. Such a scenario would have never prevailed, if all of the quota had been taken from the Gulf or South West Nova Scotia. Because we are a small area and do not have a strong voice, someone may have assumed it was easier to do it in our area.

On page 12, the pictures speak volumes. That is the new state-of-the-art processing plant that was put into Canso when they divided the large plant into four sections. It was removed because of lack of resources. The ironic thing is that the resource is there. I can remember meeting the former minister, Robert Thibault, when we were trying to get quota. He said, “I will not take from one community and move it to another,” which is fair. Unintentionally, that has happened in our area.

Let me say a word about the snow crab industry. Recently, a new management plan was announced by Minister Regan based on input from an independent panel on how to allocate snow crab to both permit holders and temporary licence holders. It is being spread equally across the board to all of the players.

The story that has to be told is that 20 per cent of that quota is coming from off Sable Island. We have within our community a group called the Canso Trawlermen's Co-op. This is a group of displaced trawlermen who formerly fished off Newfoundland. This goes back to what I told you before. They formed a co-operative, and the only way they could work with the government was on a pilot project.

At the same time, other fishermen in Newfoundland who were displaced trawlermen were given the quota which they could then bring into their community after the collapse of the ground fishery.

The numbers in our report indicate how the crab will be allocated. As part of the pilot project, these fishermen had fished off Sable Island for years. There is a 30 year history there. They thought that there was a resource there. Most of the crab fishing was done inshore or close to shore. They went to DFO and said, “We believe there is a resource there that can be exploited if it is done properly and under the guise of conservation.”

DFO said, “No, there is no stock there. There is no fishery, and what is out there, if there is anything, is small and will not provide a sustainable resource.” The trawlermen got permission to do the science. They paid for it themselves. They did the research that is necessary to do an exploratory search and found that there was a viable stock there, which now makes up 20 per cent of the quota. This group was not treated the same way as the fishermen in Newfoundland who were given the quota, because they were not all core fishermen, although they have decades of association with the fishery. They will probably end up with one licence and very little fish despite all their efforts.

There are 14 of them. If they all had core status they would have three licences to be able to fish the stock that they discovered, that DFO said was not there and would not be viable, if it was. Fairness begs the question: Why not? Had that happened, we would have a viable crab operation in Canso. With this group of fishermen, the offshore trawler group, all of the product would be landed and processed in Canso.

This material is something that I would ask you to review and consider that it does have major implications. We have two situations. The roll-out of the Marshall decision has had a negative impact on our community. Then there are tenets regarding the allocation of snow crab which say that, if you do the research and you find the resource, then you will be considered for licences. That has not been done.

I would like to spend a couple of minutes talking about what Canso is doing as a community. We are fighters and we are not giving up despite the fact that we are facing major challenges. We feel that we are falling between the cracks. Other communities and minority interests have received consideration from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. St. Anthony's Basin and Charlottetown, Labrador are two examples of communities being empowered through resource access and allocation. Remember that earlier I talked about the trawlermen's group. We are looking at the parallel situation in our community. We need someone to recognize and acknowledge the fact that we have been damaged by Enterprise Allocations (EA) and core policy not to mention the roll-out of the Marshall decision.

Who better fits Supreme Court commentary on existing non-Aboriginal fishing than Canso, with over 400 years in the fishery? We believe that tenet has to be revisited. How can we assure there is some fairness in DFO policies that relate to our community, or other communities that have historic reliance on the fishery? Is it possible for us to take a second look at the roll-out of Marshall to ensure it is fair and transparent to all communities, because they all have their rights? The Aboriginal communities should have their rights to the fisheries. Communities, such as Canso with its historic attachments, should have the right to the fisheries.

I will tell you what we are doing as a community. Prior to Christmas in 1999, when the announcement came that National Sea Products, NatSea, was going to leave Canso, it was ironic that on the same day the federal government showed up with: “Have we got the programs for you.” At the time we felt that to be somewhat insulting. Promises were made and programs were put into place and then quickly evaporated. With the collapse of the fishery, communities were presented with the TAGS program. You remember the history of the TAGS program. Promises were made, but after a while those promises evaporated.

Communities like Canso require long-term commitment to economic development. I am sure, senators, any of you who have worked on economic development know that it does not happen overnight. If you do not allocate the resources to a community that wants to develop and diversify, it will not happen.

I will give you an example of what was done in Nova Scotia. When I was in the provincial government, we established a group called “Team Guysborough.” It was a group of senior bureaucrats whose job was to cut through the red tape, work with communities in economic development and make things happen. The old adage that the local citizens know where the thin ice is in development is true. They know what will work in their communities. In small communities, if they are not given the tools, resources, and the financial support, it will not happen. That initiative put in place staff for two years, put in place resources, and within two years over $2 million in development happened in Canso. Then it was cancelled, or it has been downsized.

When the local people have the tools and have the ability to work, things can happen. As a result of the Team Guysborough initiative, we now have in our community what is called the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, which is going into its ninth year. This festival attracts over 10,000 people to our community in one weekend. We have over 500 volunteers who run that festival. That gives our community profile.

To that first initiative we developed a call centre in Canso. We originally had 25 people; we are now up to 73. In a large city that is not a significant number, but in a small community it is. We have revitalized what is called the Eastern Counties Development Association and we are now working with St. Francis Xavier University's extension department to begin a two-month consultation with our community to identify projects that are viable. There are studies underway now to look at Canso as a potential site for shore-based aquaculture. I believe we have the resources; we have the water and the land. I visited several of those sites in Norway in my former role as Chair of the Resource Committee for the Province of Nova Scotia. That technology is advanced to the stage now where it is possible.

What I am saying to you, senators, is that the policy and the framework have a lot of pluses. They give empowerment to the groups that are most directly related to the fishery. There have been decisions over the years that have ignored the communities that are there to be protected. Communities have to be involved and the processing sector cannot be ignored.

We have worked closely with the present fishery minister and he has addressed some of those concerns, but I think it is important to put these before the committee for your consideration. About a year ago our community was given a mandate by our Minister of Service Nova Scotia that if we do not balance our budget we will become extinct. We have had support from all over North America, which is interesting. We will do it. The reason we are going to do it is that we have put together a group of people who want to work on economic development. We put together a group of people who believe we should not go with our hands out to government asking for help. We have to help ourselves. We have things go offer.

We were one of the few communities in Nova Scotia to pioneer telemedicine. As a spin-off to that, we developed an LPN course to train licensed practical nurses in Canso using that technology. We have done map digitalization for government agencies. We have the will to do it and the technology today allows things to happen to the Cansos of Canada and Nova Scotia.

What we need is a second look at some of these policies, to see how they have impacted communities and how can we make them address the needs of not only the Aboriginal communities, but all communities within the broader community that we call Nova Scotia and Canada.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Your Worship. That was interesting and quite a history. Before I go on I want to note that, if anyone is interested in visiting Canso for a more leisurely journey, they do not have to actually drive there. I will give the website for the town. It is I recommend it, if not for the picture, at least for the singing. Carl Vaughan, a resident of your community, does a great job in singing of the Town of Canso. I invite everyone to actually visit the site.

Mr. White: If I may just add a word, the website site was developed by Maritimers who had moved to Western Canada, and who had heard about the story of Canso trying to remain a town. We had a plebiscite in which 82 per cent of the people voted to give our council a mandate to try its best to stay as a community and town. That story was carried across Canada and these people volunteered their time and efforts to develop the website that tells our story. The website has only been operational for three months, but we have had over 6,000 hits. As an interesting spin-off, there is over $17,000 in donations to keep our town alive. That is not the way you normally balance a budget.

The Chairman: It is well worth the visit. I hope that people do visit, but this is not a paid announcement or anything; it is simply well worth visiting the site.

I would now invite His Worship, Mr. Mawhinney to proceed.

His Worship D. Laurence Mawhinney, Mayor, Town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia: Honourable senators, it is a pleasure to be with you to offer the story of another Atlantic coastal community that has been affected in the last 15 years by the downturn in the fishery. When we speak about our hometown or community and the province in which we live, most of us speak about it with immense pride and passion. If you say that you are living in the best part of Canada, I believe you are correct, as I trust you will agree with me when I speak in those terms about my community as well.

I speak with passion about a community that had its background over 250 years ago. Earlier settlement was thereby Mi'kmaq and French settlers prior to 1753, but the first formal settlement happened there, when under the British Crown settlers from Germany, Switzerland and France were brought for settlement in Lunenburg. That permanent settlement was laid out on a British grid-town model, of which there are probably 15 in North America; however, according to the Government of Canada's research, it is the best preserved model of a colonial town that is still in existence on this continent. That is one of the reasons that it was recognized internationally by UNESCO.

The changes that have occurred in the fishery go back in time. The first settlers were not people who fished; they were agriculturalists. They learned to fish when they came to North America and, perhaps because they did so, they developed their own style and methodology. 100 years ago in the port of Lunenburg there would be 100 schooners. You could also walk from one side of the harbour to the other with the variety of craft that were in the bay at that time. Those schooners also mostly gone, except for one or two that still remind us of the heyday of the fishery.

That fishery did prosper in the last century. It was aided along the way by the variety of species in the Atlantic Ocean and, for part of that time, by prohibition in the United States that gave rise to the exchange of salt cod for rum. Rum running was lucrative for the many years until prohibition ended. That did give many Atlantic coastal communities some financial stability that has enabled them to keep vibrant to today. In those days, they would build a schooner by selling shares. They would sell 64 shares.

Reportedly, that goes back to the first Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake, who in wanting to build a fleet to protect Her Majesty had 100 shares per vessel and the Crown took the first 36 and left 64 to be sold by public subscription. That is the way they were built. The captain would have one share as managing owner. He would sell to his friends and neighbours, and it became a local enterprise that was carried out with tremendous community involvement. If it was a good season the community benefited; if it was bad, the community suffered together. Usually it was enough to get people through the winter.

That has changed, of course; the fishing fleet of 100 years ago is now gone. What was even ten years ago a substantial fleet of up to 30 vessels in the offshore fishery is now virtually gone. There remains today one company that is still sailing three scallop draggers out of Lunenburg. They have 9.77 per cent of the quota. The other quotas are largely held, up to close to 50 per cent, by one of the major players on the East Coast.

There does remain in and around Lunenburg a strong inshore fishery. Lobster is certainly a strong component along the shoreline of South West Nova Scotia. We have become, however, the victims of severe changes and globalization. It used to be that young people from Atlantic Canada would “go down the road.” We talked about “going down the road.”. Now, it is mostly about “going around the globe.” We are being impacted by what is happening on the other side of this globe; what is happening in China is having a direct effect upon many of the producers of commodities in North America, and the fishery is one of those.

We are the victims of change, and because of that our young people have to go elsewhere, quite often, to find work and jobs. The demographics are that we are becoming an older and aging community. That is a great concern.

In the early 1990s, about 15 years ago, we recognized that the Atlantic ground fishery was in decline. We reviewed what we could do to try to rectify that situation. We recognized that we could not put fish back in the ocean, nor did we have the skills within our own staff or counsel at the time to get as deeply involved in the matter of regulatory authority through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as some communities may have become.

What we did at that time was to commence a strategy called “Building our strengths.” When we looked at our strengths as a community, one we found we had was in the history and heritage that had largely been preserved for 200 to 250 years in the architecture of the streetscape and the lay-out of the community, which was still the way it had been laid out when they founded the community. We commenced upon that strategy. In 1992, Old Town Lunenburg was designated as a National Historic Site. We moved forward from that to seek a nomination that was presented by the Government of Canada to UNESCO, the educational, scientific and cultural organization of the United Nations. In December of 1995, “Old Town Lunenburg” was inscribed on the world heritage list of the UNESCO convention concerning the protection of cultural and natural heritage. That was achieved by the Government of Canada through Parks Canada. I must comment in particular on how very supportive a number of people and staff have been with Parks Canada in many of the ventures that we have taken forward over the last 10 years.

The documentation that the Government of Canada produces talks about Canada's 13 extraordinary sites on the UNESCO world heritage list. Some of them are provincially owned. Many of them are owned by the Government of Canada as national parks. There are two that are owned partially at least by urban communities, one being Old Quebec City and the other Old Town Lunenburg.

The documentation also says that it is up to the host state to care for and protect those assets for the rest of the world to enjoy. Indeed, there are operational guidelines for the implementation of the world heritage convention. Canada was one of the first signatories to this back in the 1970s. In part of those regulations, there is a statement that refers to the state parties or countries concerning the nominations to the list. It says quite clearly that the participation of the local people in the nomination process is essential to make them feel that they have a shared responsibility with the state party in the maintenance of the site.

This site, this very special site, this Town of Lunenburg, has no federal presence whatsoever left in it. The post office, the last federal holding, has been sold. There are no grants in lieu of taxes. There are no tax revenues. There are no regular contributions to the maintaining of that site. It is up to the 2,568 residents of this community to maintain it. That to me is breaking the spirit, if not the letter, of the law of the UNESCO convention, and I believe the Government of Canada should live up to that convention and participate with us in maintaining our site, because it is not fair to ask the residents of our community and our businesses to do so. We would like to see the Government of Canada re- address that issue, because it is vital to some of the things that the community is trying to do in its own way to uphold and maintain this particular site.

I would be remiss, if I did not say that there are some good news stories in Lunenburg that relate to the fishery and to other industries. We have aggressively pursued new industry that is compatible to the community. We have a small company called Composites Atlantic, which is a division of the company that is providing the cockpit components for those new Boeing Jumbo liners that were flown for the first time last week. There are 250 people employed in that particular industry.

Below the hill from that plant, which has continued to expand annually, is another called HB Studios that makes the games for the Playstation that my grandchildren play with for hockey, baseball, football, tennis and lacrosse, and other things that are familiar in North America, but cricket for Australia and New Zealand. There are probably 40 or 50 people who are computer geniuses there who are creating the next generation of programming for those things that people are involved with. We have a number of other companies that are very much involved in new technology and new age advancement and we are indeed fortunate in that regard.

The shares that built the schooners are the key to what we would see as being cooperative success for the future in many Atlantic Canadian communities, ours being one of them. In the same way that community pride was involved in building those schooners long ago, community pride is today very much evident in what we are trying to do.

We were faced about 15 months ago with an announcement by Clearwater Seafoods that they were going to divest themselves of all their holdings in the Town of Lunenburg. They placed all their properties on the market, 24 buildings and 8 wharves, in a package deal that is available for the sum of $9.7 million. That has been on the market for the last little while.

What did the community do when they heard this news? They said, “What can we do about it; what steps can we take?” We initially formed a committee to deal with the future of our waterfront, the whole harbour and the basin itself. The first phase of that waterfront master plan was received this week on Monday evening by the community. It is only step one of a process of revitalization, but it has given evidence to the fact that there are many things that the working waterfront of Lunenburg can still do as a working waterfront, including the landing of new species of fish by companies from outside this country that are interested in coming to North America to do so. We will welcome them when they come to join with us. This is stage one.

Another step the community took, and took without government assistance whatsoever from any of the three orders of government, was to create a Lunenburg Maritime Heritage Foundation that will take the step of saying, “We will purchase all of those properties that are offered for sale and all of those wharfs.” How much money do they have; zero. How much do they have by way of initiative; 99.9 per cent, and they are moving forward. There are steps that they have taken. They have moved with a variety of programs. They are in contact with many people and have pulled the community together, as we have not been pulled together before, to first address what we want this community to be. We want it to continue as a working waterfront, still processing fish, still dealing with marine craft, whether they are pleasure craft, tall ships or other kinsd of new vessels that are part of today's world. They will make this happen.

I am here today in part to tell you that we hope the Government of Canada will indeed find it fitting to see their way clear to purchase into a new ship that will be launched by this foundation in the same way that schooners were launched, by being shareholders and partners in it. The people of Lunenburg are not coming, and I am not here with my hand out, to ask you simply to give us financial resources; we simply want to encourage those who have responsibility in the areas of responsibility to be partners with us.

Our council has identified a number of areas in which we think it would be appropriate for the Government of Canada to be involved. I have listed those on a quick summary sheet on the folder that is attached. We believe it is living up to the shared responsibility, that terminology taken out of the UNESCO convention. There are 179 countries that are now a part of that across the globe. These 13 sites in Canada are not only important to those of us who are Canadian, but are extremely important to others.

We have benefited over the years from the support of the Government of Canada in a number of ventures; infrastructure programs have worked wonderfully well. We cleaned up our harbour. We were able to do that after 246 or 247 years of dumping raw sewage. We were able to take the step to clean it up. That plant is up and operating now for the last couple of years. Infrastructure made that possible. The restoration of St. John's Anglican Church that was almost destroyed by fire four years ago is now nearing completion. That project, which was $6 million to $7 million in scope, was also accomplished with support from the Government of Canada.

The people of Lunenburg are the people who drove that, and we want to be able to drive our destiny as any small community does in this country. When we look at these particular initiatives we hope that the Government of Canada, for example, can include a line annually in their budget that would address the needs of world heritage sites that are not owned by the people of Canada. There are many provisions that are made for sights that are owned by the people of Canada. It was important that in this year's budget, although not yet passed, there is a sum of $310 million that has been put aside for Parks Canada to use in the revitalization of many of our heritage sites that are showing the wear and tear of the passing years and that need to be restored. They are right across this country in every province and territory.

We have said since the beginning that there should be a line item in federal budgets to give evidence to the shared responsibility and to show tangible results on the part of the Government of Canada for those sites that are not owned by the Government of Canada, and in which they play no active role. We also feel there should be a small branch of some federal office located there. We were able to persuade the Province of Nova Scotia to build a new provincial building in our community. Construction will take place within the next 12 months, bringing another 40 to 50 jobs to the community, as evidence of the fact that they feel we need something to revitalize small town life.

While regionalization has taken place across the country and regional government has been implemented in many provinces, I have never been an advocate of regionalization. I believe that the strength of this country was built upon the small communities that were able to take their own destiny into their own hands and make it work. What we are asking for now is support so that we are able to do that again. There are other suggestions there as well. The Lunenburg Maritime Heritage Foundation is holding a symposium this Saturday in which they have invited a number of key players to come and address the issues that they are working on as we tackle how to raise $9.7 million, or some lesser amount, to buy all of those properties that are placed for sale.

It is because of federal policies over the last decade or so that we are at this step and stage, because, where companies still are vibrant in the fishery and in the scallop industry, they are doing well because they use their resource willingly and objectively with regard to the community in which they are doing business. When you get too big, whether it is a regional government or a big corporation, you lose touch with the people who gave you the strength in the first place. The policy has been such that it has not worked to the advantage of small communities across this country. I know that the same thing applies in many of the agricultural communities, northern communities, Aboriginal communities and lumbering communities; it is the same story place after place. We cannot centralize all of our population in simply the major centres. I know that that is the trend in the world today, but it is not the way that life is better.

The people who come and live in our community now pay very high prices, — a problem that is different from Canso's. Exorbitant prices for dwelling places is one of the biggest challenges we face. We are almost the victims of our own success. We have residential properties that are listed for sale up to $600,000, simply because the world community sees us as an attractive place in which to live and to come and retire to. That is not exactly all we want. We want the young people to come. So we need housing developments that are in tandem with the province and the private sector, and then we will take steps forward.

We are trying to rebuild our community the same way that Canso is, with the internal workings of the people and the spirit and strength that we have. We simply want the Government of Canada to be a shareholder in one of those shares that we would like them to have as a partner with us in making that possible. Thank you very much for the opportunity to share these comments today.

The Chairman: I think everyone can understand why you two keep getting elected mayor in your towns. You are very passionate and articulate spokesmen for your communities. We appreciate the experience you have brought to the table this morning.

Senator Hubley: A warm welcome to both of you; we have looked forward to your appearance. I can tell you that the information you have brought to us will give us a significant amount to work with for our mandate in the fisheries industry.

To clarify, Mr. Mawhinney, do you have processing plant in Lunenburg for the fish that are caught in your area?

Mr. Mawhinney: Highliner Foods still is an active and vibrant part of the area of Lunenburg. It is just outside the town.

They are a food processing plant now. They no longer catch fish that they land in Lunenburg. That was one of the largest components of the fishery fleet that 10 years ago was in place that is now gone. Their source of material comes from the world market. It comes from Alaska, the Bering Sea, and China.

It is brought in frozen, and processed, value added and shipped out across the continent.

Senator Hubley: If you had a quota that was community-based, which is sort of thinking of our committee, how would that be managed? Would you need guidelines on where that catch could be processed? What type of infrastructure would you have to have, even the type of body that would have to be there, to manage that fishery and to allocate? Again, we would be back to allocating within the industry. How would you see that working in your community? We are trying to develop a model, something that we can see will work. I will go with Your Worship Mr. White.

Mr. White: Senator, there probably are a couple of scenarios that could be looked at. In my presentation I mentioned that a group of displaced former trawlermen from Newfoundland were given a quota that they partnered with local business to ensure that it stayed in that community. That is one scenario. Another is that you may have a local board that would actually manage the quota to maximize the input for the community. It would have to be a mixture of both, because you could say that the quota would be a building block in which other species could be acquired. Because of the cost to processing, there would have to be sufficient financial resources to enable that the quota was actually processed in the community and the benefits would accrue to that community. You have to look not just at one method of ensuring that the quota remains in the community, but at what partnerships could be developed with the community to maximize the benefit from any quota that is identified.

Senator Hubley: Mr. Mawhinney, do you have any thoughts?

Mr. Mawhinney: This is a complex issue, senator, and one that has often been debated. There is some feeling locally that, because of the accumulation of quota from smaller companies, the large player got too big for one port and had to move elsewhere for economic reasons, as they stated it, and to compete with oriental interests.

That is interesting, because there is still a company operating out of Lunenburg that, as I mentioned, has 97.7 per cent of the scallop quota and is doing extremely well, as it has for well over 100 years. Quotas for communities can work.

Senator Hubley: Do you think that is the best way? If we were to make recommendations, is the quota best allocated to community? In other words, to make fisheries viable in your community, is allocating the fish quota to the community an important part of that, or is that still on a shared basis or is it different players taking different roles in the allocation?

Mr. White: I think it has to be part of a larger plan. It is not the only solution that will work because of the complexity of the industry itself. If the quota can be used as a building block to ensure that the economics of operating a processing facility that creates jobs is viable that would be one route. That could be the starting point. We should not bind those who sell the product to any particular regime, but should also give those who sell the product the flexibility to supplement what could be a quota.

I talked about the trawlermen who had identified a resource. They felt that if they received part of that quota, then it would be processed in the plant. Some companies have indicated that if we do receive a quota, it could be a condition that we harvest it and we do process it. If you are identifying new quotas, new species, it might be a way to ensure that they benefit communities. You would then need to look at how you allocate it. Where do we find the community and how do we allocate it? You may then go back to the core tenets of adjacency, history and attachment.

For example, when the large shrimp quotas came off the coast of Newfoundland, if we went by our history there, our community should be entitled to sell that quota, but we never received any. You have to ensure that you have in place the tenets by which you wish to allocate the quota, and you have to consider a large number of factors and how they impact communities. You cannot take from one and give to another. Those who have the attachment, the history, I think should be considered.

Senator Hubley: Should fish caught in Canadian waters be processed in Canada?

Mr. White: I will give you a story. At one time, turbot were caught and frozen at sea. The technology to thaw out that turbot was developed in Canso. We had the idea that although these fish were being caught by foreign bottom trawlers, 100 per cent of the product was processed in Canada. We thought it would be great to Canadianize those vessels. The end result was that we did Canadianize the vessels, but because the product was being sold overseas the whole thing has gone overseas. So we have to be careful how we do those things. There are times when the economics will dictate that they cannot be processed in Canada, but when it can, it should.

Senator Merchant: I, too, very much appreciate the passion you have brought here this morning from your communities. I told you a few minutes ago before we started that I come from the Prairies. We have a similar problem there with our small communities. Everybody is moving into the cities and the small communities are finding it difficult to keep the young people there and to maintain themselves as a community by keeping their schools, their doctors, and their hospital. I am sure you are having the same problem.

How big is your community, Mayor White?

Mr. White: We are about 1,000 people. We have the Folk Festival in the community and about 700 of these people volunteer. It is interesting. We potentially have the site for a major wind farm development. We are working with the FCM. As I mentioned, with the telecommunications available today, different options are available to communities that never existed before. You have to get out and sell the idea that you have the expertise and that you have done that.

Ecotourism in our area has a great potential because of the unsoiled islands off Canso. That is the reason why our area is being looked at for on-shore agriculture sites. Canso, fortunately, when the fish plant was developed, put in place a water and sewage treatment facility. We have had that for years, so the waters off our coast are somewhat pristine. We have to draw in sea water for land-based aquaculture. We have the potential to do that.

Our community has taken a two-pronged approach. We feel that the fishery still has potential in our community and so can be a backbone, but we have another group of citizens who are looking at economic diversification beyond the fishery. Communities have to look at what they have now, what the potentials are and what they can do.

I mentioned to you earlier that we had an exchange with the leaders of Saskatchewan. As we drove past communities, they told us it that a loss of quota for us is similar to maybe the loss of their grain elevators, because that was the hub of the community. That brought people in. The consolidation to have grain elevators is no different from the consolidation that we have seen sometimes in the fishery and the impact it has.

Senator Merchant: With the 1,000 people that you have there, are you able to tell us how you are doing with your young people?

Mr. White: I think it is a challenge for every community to keep the young people there. Three of our key drivers of economic development are young people who are coming back home to live in the community. However, we still have people moving to Antigonish and to Halifax. For us that is a major challenge.

Senator Merchant: Mayor Mawhinney, I am interested in the Town of Lunenburg as a World Heritage Site. Is there any funding through UNESCO that you can use to your advantage?

Mr. Mawhinney: No, there is not. There is no financial benefit from UNESCO to any of the Canadian World Heritage Sites, or to any of the others, that I am aware of. The only time that UNESCO would get involved in supporting a site financially would be if it were a site that was placed at risk. A number of sites have been at risk, and some have even been severely damaged — for instance, by the tsunami of last December and by events in other parts of the world. In Afghanistan, for example, there have been some devastating occurrences, but there is no financial help available directly from UNESCO. In our case, the St. John's Church restoration did receive some funds because they were for a time on an endangered list of 100 sites at risk because of severe catastrophe such as fire. They did receive a small contribution from another organization because of that.

Senator Merchant: You are a town and you have said that most of the sites were in national parks, but you also mentioned Quebec City. Are they getting some different kind of assistance, you feel, from the federal government, that you are comparing yourselves to another site that has a similar designation to yours?

Mr. Mawhinney: Quebec City has received substantive contributions from the federal government directly and indirectly. The federal government owns substantial landholdings and sites in old Quebec, which are maintained by the Government of Canada. Around the waterfront through Coast Guard and Transport Canada installations, there have been other improvements made. It would be difficult to really measure effectively the amount of money that Quebec City has obtained. I am not at all critical of that; to me, that is the right thing to do. I am just saying that in Lunenburg we would like to share a little bit of that as well.

Senator Johnson: I am very puzzled and perhaps you can enlighten me. You have a huge deficit you owe the province. The minister called for this indebtedness and produced the rare plebiscite. What does your community think it can do to save itself under these circumstances? I have heard what you have said and I am very sympathetic, of course. I come from the Prairies. Would there not be a benefit to you in terms of your fishery, your diversification opportunities, to be part of a bigger municipality?

Mr. White: We had a public meeting in November-December at which 1,000 people showed up — everyone in town plus other interested people. We presented to them that they would have a net savings in taxes if they joined the county. As a council we were asking for a mandate. Would we be the council to negotiate the transition to become part of the county or would we try to find a way to sustain the municipality? At that time we proposed some fairly severe cuts to our budget, and I think we will be successful in meeting the minister's requirements at the end of this month.

Besides pride, which we asked people not to bring into the equation, we looked for some logic, and we looked at economic development. People felt that economic development should come from the community itself and not be part of someone else's agenda. The priorities that the community of Canso would set might be number eight or nine on someone else's priority list.

We have been proactive in the fisheries over the years, more so than our neighbouring municipality. The community felt that that expertise would be of benefit to the community. It is not just myself, but look at the list of people I acknowledge at the end of my presentation. We can draw on that expertise to help us.

Canso has always been told, “You can't do this or you can't do that”. Our war cry has always been: “Don't say “cannot”; say “Canso”.” We were told we could never have a medical centre. Everyone in the community pitched in $100 for shares and we can accommodate three doctors and a dentist. We were told we could never build a sports complex. We took an ice lake which traditionally provided ice to the trawlers and made a 14-acre sports complex with an arena that opened debt-free. We have a history of fighting for what we think we should have. We did reactivate an economic development committee which has partnered with St. Francis Xavier University to help us in economic development.

There are options available for the community. For a number of years negative messages came from our community, but we are saying we are open for business. We have a different attitude. I came out of retirement to run as mayor, and so did my deputy mayor, who was mayor 25 years ago, and one of my councillors, because people feel that, if we do not give it the best effort, we may always question whether we should have folded up the tent and done nothing. That is not the character of our community.

If I can use an analogy, saltwater is in our blood. It gives us that determination, that willingness to fight. It is no different from Mayor Mawhinney and his community. To help you with a couple of those numbers of having the $420,000 written off our debt, I think we will balance our budget in a couple of weeks with a little luck, which will give us the time to take advantage of a major windmill development that will happen in Canso. That will help us to take advantage of other opportunities.

Senator Johnson: That is good news. What is this about the group of residents who have applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, requesting that Canso amalgamate with Guysborough? Is there a chance of that producing hearings?

Mr. White: It is a possibility. In any municipality in Nova Scotia residents have the right, if they wish to apply to the minister, to have amalgamation considered as an option. This group originally were going to file an application. They postponed it until May 15. Whether or not they will do another postponement I do not know. I can only assume they are waiting to see how we are doing with our budget and hopefully we will give them enough reason not to proceed.

Senator Johnson: I know you cherish your town and I do not blame you. I have been reading some news stories about what is going on in terms of these plebiscites. It is important, of course, that whatever you can do, you do.

Mr. White: The bottom line, as we have said to our citizens, is that at the end of the day, if we cannot succeed, we will convene a meeting and tell them what the alternative choice is. We say we will be up front and transparent, and we think that is important.

Senator Johnson: I wish you very good luck. I have one question. I could talk about the heritage of Lunenburg and UNESCO all day. Mayor Mawhinney, what is the problem with support from our government for a place like Lunenburg? It is a fantastic place. It is fabulous in terms of what it has and also the fact that it was recognized is a huge deal.

Mr. Mawhinney: It is a really big deal. I do not think we have yet all recognized that fact, even locally.

I do not think the government knew exactly what we were getting into when the nomination was made. This was a new venture at the time. In fact, when the first nomination went forward about 1993, there was some concern that it would take about five or ten years before it even got on the list for consideration. It went through much more rapidly than anyone anticipated. When the announcement came and we were nominated, everyone said — and this may be true also of some government officials at the time — everyone said, “What next?”

What we did next was immediately to put everything on hold and ask ourselves, “What do we have to do?” We went into a major community study at the time to determine what were the steps to be taken. The study produced was an excellent one and we are still using that as the bedrock upon which we are doing things. I cite the new foundation that has been established as one of the recommendations that came from that.

Never along the way did the Government of Canada ever say to us that there would be dollars in our hands because we were going to be nominated or be on that list. We have failed at this point to convince elected officials that it is something that should be included. We will continue our quest.

Senator Johnson: Are there other sites that are getting it?

Mr. Mawhinney: Other sites would receive substantive funding, particularly those owned by Parks Canada as part of their national grid.

Senator Johnson: What about the one in Quebec City?

Mr. Mawhinney: Yes, there would be substantial amounts of federal money in that particular venture.

Senator Johnson: What will you do? Clearwater has 24 waterfront properties on the market, and someone may want to buy and develop the area. Are you saying that federal help is the only thing that will bring resolution?

Mr. Mawhinney: Federal help would be helpful in sorting out the solution. I think the solution will come locally, through the minds of some of the creative people that I referred to earlier, who have plans as to how they will do this with tall ships. Picton Castle sails out of Lunenburg. It has made three circumnavigations of the globe. They are leaving on May 14 for their fourth. People pay $35,000 U.S. to work on board a tall ship. They are booked up away ahead of time. That shows the spirit that is alive and well there, that people actually pay to do this.

We also have the problem that we have probably in the vicinity of 300,000 to 400,000 visitors every year, who, while they come and enjoy the site, do not even leave a cent locally. They do not have to pay to get in or out, and if they bring their lunch they may not even buy anything while they are there. The museum has over 100,000 visitors annually who pay to go through, but there are others who do not. We are looking for creative ways and the “line item” in the federal budget seemed to us to be the best solution. We proposed that first about seven or eight years ago and we will continue to propose it on an annual basis until we get someone who will hear what the message says.

Senator Johnson: Do you have any idea now whether you will get any support in federal money?

Mr. Mawhinney: There is no indication. It is not in this year's budget.

Senator Johnson: I will not go over it again, but with a community that is as well diversified as you are, and having the status, and if you look at Canso trying to do similar things, I do not understand why this initiative is not supported. This is something our committee can report on, in terms of a model, the kind of thing that people are trying to do, not just in the Maritimes, but in other parts of Canada where these things are happening.

Mr. Mawhinney: Absolutely. That will be greatly appreciated. I did not mention this before, but there is another model that we worked with that has also not really gone further: I am referring to the one about emergency measures response in terms of natural disasters or other disasters. Many of the major cities do not, or did not, have integrated response mechanisms between all of the responders. If, for example, there is a fire in the Louvre in Paris, what do you remove first, besides the Mona Lisa? Nobody had a plan in place. That was true also in many of the major cities in this country. We have a plan in place now as to what you do first if you are there as first responders. That is one of the simple examples of how we can give guidance to other communities, large and small, as to how to put that in place to preserve their heritage.

Senator Johnson: That is excellent, to have that model for communities. Maybe we could have that information for our study.

Senator Adams: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask a question of His Worship. You mentioned quite a bit about the Marshall case. I want to make sure of the location. Was it around the area of Burnt Church? Is that the same area where the activity was between natives and DFO about five or six years ago? I want to make sure it is the same part of the case between the Aboriginal and the quotas and some of your areas in Canso.

Mr. White: No, senator. I think they are probably two different situations. One would deal with probably how the quota was managed in that particular area. I think Marshall, if memory serves me right, probably came shortly after that. What we are looking at is how DFO has applied Marshall, particularly in our area in acquiring quotas and so on.

Senator Adams: At that time, it was the role of DFO and Indian Affairs to set the quotas in the area for the natives. Is it the Department of Indian Affairs that negotiates between fishermen and natives? Has anything changed, like the policy, or have they separated the area of the territory and made boundaries where the fishing quotas are?

Mr. White: I do not know if I understand your question. Basically, in our area there are three zones that I referred to. If we go back to the shrimp, which is the one I alluded to, instead of taking them all from one area, if we had spread it around it would have still met the requirements of the allocations required under Marshall, but it would not have had such a direct impact on any one particular community. That is the suggestion that we were making.

Senator Adams: At that time, it started with the natives. It was according to the agreement with the Government of Canada. It did not have a season. Does that affect the local area for the people in your community and your town, and is that when the fish plants started going down? I want to make sure, because you are down from 268 to 25. What is causing it? Was it the natives or the companies, the big corporations, taking over the quotas? What happened?

Mr. White: It is a combination of a couple of things. Number one, some of the quotas purchased by DFO, those people traditionally landed at the Canso plant. With the change of quotas to the Eskasoni, they now have the prerogative to land the quota. They decided to land the quota in Arichat. There was a transfer of quota from one community to another. It was not intended. It was a result of all the licences being taken from one region. Had they been taken from several regions, they might still be landing in Arichat. However, it still would have left some available quota for the Canso plant and the native communities. As I indicated, they are trying to get up to 10 licences in an area that had one of the smaller quotas available. Had they taken some from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which had a substantially higher quota, and some from off the coast of Newfoundland, it would have spread the impact.

Senator Adams: It was around the time of the Marshall case that Canso's numbers declined. I wanted to understand why it went down to 25, because the fishermen's quotas belonged to the community at one time; but the DFO took it away from the community, and gave it to other companies. Was that the quota you had before 1990?

Mr. White: There are a couple of factors. If you remember, earlier I mentioned Seafreez. It had some privileges. They had some of their own quota. When that was taken away or lost, part of that leverage was no longer there. Also, the fact that suppliers who normally brought shrimp to the Canso plant were no longer available, because some of those licences had been transferred. Therefore, it is not just the shrimp alone, but that is one of the major players.

Senator Adams: Did other companies step in and buy those quotas from those natives, or did those natives have enough big equipment to do their own quotas? What really happened?

Mr. White: At this time there is some indication that there may be construction of another shrimp plant in the region. Some of the product, like anywhere in Atlantic Canada, can be purchased and trucked out to other areas. What is happening to shrimp at this time could be one of those two variables.

Senator Adams: I want to go back to this point: You went from 268 people working in the plant down to 25. I suppose other people went to other plants, but at that time did the government understand why it was going down? I want to make sure what exactly happened, because the fish did not run out. They are still catching the quotas every year.

Mr. White: That goes back to the point I tried to make earlier. In all the tenets that are set up for the allocation of quotas, the processing communities and the communities affected need to be consulted. There has to be an analysis; what are the causes and effects? That is the missing piece that may answer your question and the same question we as a community are asking: Has the roll-out been fair to all communities, and what can be done to ensure that the maximum benefits accrue to everyone.

Senator Adams: On page 4, you say your community is surrounded by all of those kinds of fishery; the picture is nice. How much has it gone down so far today?

Mr. White: You mean the fishery itself, the tuna?

Senator Adams: Yes.

Mr. White: Tuna are migratory fish. There are years you would have that fleet in Canso. Other times it would move up the coast. This summer again we could end up with a fleet that large depending on where the tuna are. We used to host the Canada Tuna Cup in Canso, but now it is back to Prince Edward Island. We would certainly like to make sure you know that. The number of licences still held in our area is very small in comparison. When the tuna started to become a factor we tried to convince the government to let us buy in, but the policy in place did not encourage that. Now the price is too prohibitive for us to get back into a fishery. We can actually sit on the wharf and see the tuna boats catching fairly close.

Senator Adams: Those tuna quotas were not allocated to the community either. Someone else would get it and sell it to the Canso fishermen. Is that how it works?

Mr. White: The tuna quota is different. There is an overall quota that has to be caught within regions. These fishermen have a licence to let them fish both in the Gulf and also off Canso. That is why you can see that while the tuna are off Canso they will fish here. If they move to Prince Edward Island, they have the luxury of going there and catching the tuna there.

Senator Watt: I am under a bit of stress right now. I have a lot of questions to put forward. I will try to condense them down because I only have so much time.

Is there enough fish left in the ocean to fish, if we are going to continue on the way we have practiced over the years? That is the number one question.

Mr. Mawhinney: In my opinion, if the resource is properly managed, there are still species that can be caught productively to provide food and income for a number of people. I cite the scallop, because that is the one I am a little more familiar with in Lunenburg. I think it was in 1976 that they began to self-regulate as to the catch. Because of that, they have had greater success in maintaining the supply of young scallops. I am told by some of the fishermen who have been fishing in Georges Bank in spring, that there are a lot of seed scallops out there and the future looks good. It may not be a great harvest now, but the future looks good, if it is properly managed and fished. The same is true for lobsters and other inshore species as well. If you fish everything out of the ocean, there will not be anything left of any one species, if that is what happens.

Mr. White: If I could add to that answer, senator, one consideration has to be addressed. There are quotas that are being left in the water that are not being caught. Under NAFTA, if we do not execute some of those quotas, as Canadians we could lose that resource. There have to be ways to ensure that the quotas we have that are environmentally sustainable are fished to the benefit of Canadians, because we can, by default, lose those quotas.

Senator Watt: Lose them to whom?

Mr. White: We can lose those by default to some of the European countries. We have to be cognizant of that. Although a company may have an enterprise allocation, if it only executes 40 per cent of that allocation, that means there is 60 per cent which will have the history of not being caught. There are international agreements that say if you do not execute those fisheries, they may be available to someone else. That someone else may not be Canadian.

I agree with Mayor Mawhinney, if proper conservation is done — and you can talk to anyone in the fishery and find that the attitude has changed towards conservation; they know it is their long-term livelihood — if it is allocated properly, it can create more jobs.

If we allow overfishing to happen and do not enforce conservation ourselves, eventually we will have nothing to fish for. I have spoken to inshore fishermen and offshore fishermen; they feel that even within our own waters we have to do a better job at managing conservation to ensure that the proper regulations are followed; then it will be a level playing field for everyone. That is what the fishermen want, a level playing field.

Senator Watt: To a certain extent you are questioning the policy of DFO, in terms of wanting to deal with new directions that have been taken by DFO, which is to go through the corporate route and make it absolutely economically viable. That seems to be the direction that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is going in. From what I have heard from your testimony, the fact is that that might not necessarily be the right way to go, because the conservation aspects have to be taken into account.

If it is more conservation-driven rather than economics-driven, do you think the stability of the stocks will remain healthy and that there is a good chance for those fish that we have lost in the past to start coming back? Is this one of the reasons why you mention that looking at it from a community point of view seems to be more important than looking at it even on a regional basis, let alone having the federal government making all the decisions for you? Where the decisions should be done is at the community base level. Is that what I am hearing?

Mr. White: If you look at the framework, it indicates that there are some very important conservation considerations. It does mention that the stakeholders should be involved in the decision-making related to the framework. One of the decision-makers I indicated earlier that has not been engaged as much as it should be is the community involved, and probably some of the processors. If you read the mandate of Fisheries and Oceans, they indicate that it is to manage the stock, to make sure the resource is managed in such a way as to have conservation, to make sure the stakeholders have some say. With that background, involving communities and maybe processors with the key to conservation, that can happen.

Senator Watt: It would make sense then if an instrument like the municipalities, for an example, should have a large role to play in terms of how the conservation is set, how the economic outlook is set. In other words, it takes planning; if you are going to do the proper planning, the municipalities would have to be a vehicle then, to have a role to play in that area, to being an influence on DFO, if they are going to continue to be involved.

Mr. White: The more vehicles you can use, senator, the better the end product will be. Those that have a historic attachment and a meaningful input should be consulted as well as the other players in the fishery.

Senator Watt: I am asking this because I am interested in this particular area here. Do you do your own harvest level, recording your own catch at the community level, whether it is for subsistence purposes or for commercial purposes?

Mr. White: We do not directly, but that information is normally available through various sources.

For example, we know that over $1 million worht of product is landed in the wharfs in Canso. We have been able to get those numbers, but the majority of it is shipped out because some it is live lobster and there is a market for it. Sometimes fish is sent out directly because the market at that time dictates that it is better to send it out. There are various factors that come into play. You get from Fisheries and Oceans fairly accurate information of what has come to the various ports throughout Canada.

Senator Watt: Is there still room for a corporate company to have a large role to play? This corporate company could be one person and that one person could be moved around to wherever he wants to go. He is the one who has the power and is the stakeholder. What is your opinion on that? Should we continue going in that direction?

Mr. Mawhinney: Senator, I have never really believed that bigger is better, and that probably applies in the corporate world as well as in local community life.

Senator Mahovlich: Thank you, Your Worships for a great presentation. You have given us great insight. When I think of Lunenburg, I think of the Bluenose. Listening to you, it sounds as though you are saying that the federal government does not support the Bluenose and has backed off and cleared away from that area, and is not supporting our heritage. The Bluenose, to Canada, is like our Aboriginals, it is like hockey. It is an identity. From your point of view, are they not contributing, are they not helping at all in the restoration of that boat? I am sure it needs help with the waterfront and to ensure that it is run properly.

Mr. Mawhinney: Senator, thank you. The Bluenose is very definitely a part of Lunenburg and of our history and heritage, which I think all Canadians take pride in remembering and reflecting upon from time to time. It is certainly one of the major draws on our waterfront in the summer months. Bluenose II is owned by the Province of Nova Scotia. It is operated by the province under contract with the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic at the present time. It was a private society of Lunenburgers that established this on the advice of John Fischer in 1967, Canada's centennial year. He came to Lunenburg and said, “You have to do something about retaining the story of the Atlantic fishery.” They did. They built the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic that now has over 100,000 visitors a year. The Bluenose is tied up along side and each year does a sail to various ports around the Atlantic region and stops at various places along the way. I think it has been to Canso for some of their historic events. To my knowledge, the Government of Canada does not contribute directly to that operation.

Senator Mahovlich: I think they should help. It has been on our dime for years.

Mr. Mawhinney: It has been since 1937.

Mr. White: Located off Canso is Grassy Island, which played a key role in the attack of Louisbourg. The Americans liked it so much, it was attacked twice by John Paul Jones. Parks Canada gave the site the title, “The Forgotten Colony.” That probably reflects their philosophy in developing historic sites in Atlantic Canada. We have the same challenge, when we want funds to show our part in the Canadian mosaic as well as everyone else. That speaks volumes.

Senator Mahovlich: I see that our Senator Moore is involved quite a bit with the Bluenose. I think I will have a talk with Senator Moore. I think the government should get more involved.

Mr. Mawhinney: The senator has a good working knowledge of the Bluenose and was very much involved for a number of years.

Senator Mahovlich: That is important to Canada.

The Chairman: I know the hour is getting very late and I will wrap it up fairly soon, but first a few points.

First, I think we have established that the DFO does not do socioeconomic studies of the impact and implications of its decisions on coastal communities. DFO admits this. I think you would be able to confirm that.

Another area of concern to this committee is whether you are consulted. I wish to speak on this for a couple of minutes. A policy framework was laid down last year by the government. Were your communities consulted, or did DFO do as it usually does and consult only with stakeholders? Of course, to DFO, stakeholders are the licence holders or the quota holders. DFO does not usually view communities as stakeholders. In other words, they have no beholding to the impact. Were you consulted on the policy framework?

Mr. Mawhinney: I believe the answer to that is no. The last time I think I can recall being directly consulted on an issue with DFO was some years back when the prospect of drilling for oil in Georges Bank was raised.

The Chairman: That was a long time ago. I was a member of Parliament back then. Do you recall that, Mr White?

Mr. White: The answer would be no. Only when we initiate discussions to indicate concerns that we have would there be a consultation.

The Chairman: That confirms the theory that I had.

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and I will refer to the Marshall case, has now taken over. The Aboriginal communities of Nova Scotia and the federal government are discussing the long-term effect of the Marshall decision because they have taken over from DFO. DFO had been handling the distribution and allocation of licences. That now falls under the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Has this group done any consultation with your communities?

Mr. White: No.

The Chairman: Do you realize, and I think you pointed this out in your own testimony, that the Marshall decision itself noted that the coastal communities with an historical attachment to the fishery had to be consulted, and yet you have not been consulted to date?

Mr. White: No, we have not. That is why I indicated to honourable senators that that is one of the groups that I feel should be part of that overall consultation process.

The Chairman: Leaving the Marshall decision aside, that is something that you might want to consider getting in writing to the DIAND process, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development process. My understanding is that they were supposed to. If you have not been consulted, you should get it on the record so that, therefore, decisions down the road may be questioned.

Returning to stakeholders, should coastal communities, and especially the elected council, be considered to be stakeholders?

Mr. Mawhinney: My answer would be a resounding, affirmative: Yes, we should be consulted. When the fishery goes into decline or the community is left with the fallout, we are the people who have to largely look for the answers to try to address local problems.

I recall a time when fisheries and oceans had an office in coastal communities and in our community. That was removed and it went to another inland community a few years ago on the basis of regionalization. I think DFO should be required to have a presence in coastal communities, as well as consult with them.

The Chairman: Clearwater is moving out of Lunenburg. Where are they going? Second, if you could go into the past, when those licences were amalgamated under the Clearwater brand — and these were the quotas that were landed by Clearwater when they were landed by many smaller vessels, would you stop that decision for the concentration of those licences in one individual?

Mr. Mawhinney: I would certainly like to have it reviewed, if it were possible. The implications of those decisions are now being felt. Wisdom is always great with hindsight, or it becomes clearer as we look back in time. I would welcome the opportunity to have it reviewed in a more detailed manner with the communities affected before it actually happens. Many of these things happen and we learn about them after the fact rather than beforehand and, therefore, do not have a chance to be proactive but must be reactive.

Clearwater does still have an operation in Lunenburg out of which they are managing their enterprises elsewhere in the globe. It is just the landing of their scallop catch that is being landed in Shelburne, rather than Lunenburg, because it is closer to the bank where it is being caught.

The Chairman: Hindsight is 20/20 and, if we could go back in time, would we make a different decision? This is what this committee is looking at. Decisions are being made as we speak regarding the concentration of licences into fewer and fewer hands. That is why we are saying that maybe there are decisions that we could be making now such that in 15 or 20 years from now we will not say, “Should we have considered a different approach?” That is what we are trying to do as a committee.

Mr. Mawhinney: It would be very helpful if the committee were able to recommend to DFO that consultation should be part of what is happening now. I recall that 15 or 25 years ago there was what to me appeared to be much more consultation at that time with communities. I attended many meetings with people involved in the fishery, whether they were management or fishermen themselves. It was sometimes heated, but at least the opportunity was there to do that consultation, which is something I do not think is always felt to exist now.

The Chairman: Gentlemen, we have appreciated the time you have spent with us this morning. We went away over the time limit, but I think that shows the interest that the members of this committee were able to express. Do you have any parting words?

Mr. White: Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the people of Canso, I certainly want to compliment the senators. Their questioning indicated that they took the time to research the topic that both Mayor Mawhinney and I were here to discuss and that they have a level of understanding that is certainly a compliment to them. I wish you well in your deliberations.

Last year Canso celebrated its 400th anniversary. I would like to present to you at the end of the meeting a booklet that chronicles that history, particularly with respect to the fishery. Hopefully, you can find somewhere appropriate for it so that it will be available to honourable senators.

The Chairman: Thank you very much. On behalf of committee members, thank you for being here.

The committee adjourned.

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