The visit of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to the North Shore last Tuesday was more than a response to the recent public comments by John Fraser and Dave Brown of the Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable (“Fisheries action urged,” Chief, Sept. 12). Her visit reflected two key elements of a healthy democracy — engaged citizens and a responsive government.
Fraser and Brown have demonstrated an exemplary passion for the protection and enhancement of a sustainable fishery. Articulate and well-versed on fisheries issues, they and other volunteers have in response to my invitation assembled on a regular basis over the last four years in what we have come to know as the Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable. This group of 15 or more activists has consistently stepped up to provide guidance for our government and for me as your MP — the guidance has been patriotic, non-partisan, sometimes critical, but always constructive.
Theirs is the role of a “vigilant citizenry,” as someone once said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. The roundtable has helped me effect a solid record of measurable results in the fisheries; results that occurred partly through their efforts, and partly because we have a government that listens, and responds.
I am proud of Minister Shea as she came and met with our roundtable so soon after Fraser and Brown published their letter, a letter that was as critical as it was constructive. Minister Shea showed up and received deserved praise for helping implement some of the things we in the riding have supported through her consistent dialogue — the minister has been here three times. The achievements are many: an aquaculture study performed by the Fisheries Committee; the creation of a new fisheries habitat partnership program in Budget 2013, under which the roundtable and the Squamish River Watershed Society just received funding for groundbreaking projects; a boost, also in Budget 2013, for the Pacific Salmon Foundation; and other things. The roundtable also asked the minister to move forward on other things; notably, to provide a response to the Cohen Report.
Given her track record in responding to local constituents, I have no doubt that she took seriously the requests put before her.
More importantly, we saw once again the playing out of an important step in the cycle of a healthy democracy — the dance that occurs between an engaged, vigilant citizenry and a responsive government.
Member of Parliament
West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country