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Yesterday, members of the Assembly met with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Regional Director General Doug Wentzell, in an on-the-record consultation meeting, under the Terms of Reference for a Mi’kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Consultation Process, and with DFO’s Lead Negotiator Jim Jones, in an off-the-record negotiations discussion, protected under the 2007 Made-In-Nova Scotia Process Framework Agreement, on the Mi’kmaw Right to fish for a moderate livelihood.
While DFO Conservation and Protection (C&P) officers, who seized traps from Potlotek and Eskasoni authorized harvesters, were also invited to attend the consultation discussions, to explain their actions, representatives of C&P refused to attend. DFO representatives in attendance said they would not exercise authority over C&P officers.
“In a very critical moment, the Federal Government has failed us,” said Chief Terrance Paul, Assembly Co-Chair and Fisheries Lead. “We have been pushing for movement from Canada to work together on the Right to a Moderate Livelihood and we have been met, once again, with roadblocks to these discussions moving ahead.”
While the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia have done their due diligence, bringing all documents, including Community Netukulimk Management Plans, to the table for transparent and fulsome discussions, what is being said by the Minister publicly about working in good faith with the Mi’kmaq, is not the direction that her Negotiations Team is taking.
“Discussions with DFO have broken down, and that is no fault of the Mi’kmaq. We have attempted to work Nation-to-Nation, but the Federal Government refuses to look beyond their colonialized approach. They have not recognized our Supreme Court affirmed Right for over 21 years, and it has now become clear that they have no intentions of seeing the Mi’kmaq exercising our Constitutionally affirmed Rights,” continued Chief Paul.
Since the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia see the discussions with Canada failing them at a critical moment, the Mi’kmaq are now prioritizing a new way forward.
“We will not stand by and watch DFO seize any more livelihood traps,” said Chief Wilbert Marshall, Potlotek Mi’kmaw Community. “Exercising our Treaty Rights is something that we can and will continue to do.”
For more information contact:
Crystal Dorey, Communications Manager
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office