Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns and fellow New Democrats have gotten government to reconvene the Fisheries and Oceans Committee (FOPO).
At committee, New Democrats will work for supports for fishers and harvesters who are struggling with the economic downturn because of COVID-19, and on providing solutions for ocean protection and habitat restoration.
In addition to the NDP’s negotiation last week for 10-days of paid sick leave and expansion of CERB for persons with disabilities, Johns felt it was important for FOPO to hold regular meetings.
“I’ve heard from fishers, harvesters, and other shore workers that the government’s programs are taking too long to roll out critical relief, and that they aren’t doing enough to support them,” Johns, the NDP Critic for Fisheries and Oceans, said in a news release. “I’m worried they’re going to fall through the cracks, so it’s important that their voices are heard in parliament and we do everything possible to support them.”
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Canada, FOPO was planning to undertake a study on the Big Bar landslide and the Pacific wild salmon emergency. With Thursday’s news of the escalating cost of the Big Bar cleanup, Johns hopes Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan will appear before the committee to discuss the ongoing salmon restoration projects and how they fit into Canada’s response to the virus.
“This committee is one of the tools we have to keep government accountable, and that’s crucial to ensuring the programs and funding are directed to the right people and groups. Part of this includes not only what we’re doing to help people deal with the emergency of COVID-19, but also the recovery and plans to reinvigorate the work that fishers and other workers do.”