Opposition refuses to debate the fishery
March 16, 2012
Opposition Refuses to Debate the Fishery in the House of Assembly
Fisheries and Aquaculture minister Darin King was disappointed yesterday when members of the Official Opposition and the third party would not engage in a discussion on the fishery in the House of Assembly.
Minister King stood in the legislature during a debate on interim supply and asked the opposition parties to bring forward questions on the fishery. The request was ignored.
As Minister King stated in the House of Assembly, and was recorded in Hansard: “Mr. Chair, I challenge the member opposite and my critic to stand up today and let us have a chat about the fishery and let us raise some issues, but let us raise issues of substance. I am not going to use all of my time, I am going to let you get up because I have a number of things I would like to talk to you about. I ask you all to be hon. members in this House and if you are going to come forward, you present information that is factual and that is accurate and present information that shows where you stand on issues, not trivial press releases calling the minister to resign because he made a joking comment to ministers in this House. If you want to be taken seriously, you do not put those kinds of press releases out. You tell people how you would do things differently and you challenge me to ask me how I can improve things, and I will certainly do that.”
After two hours of debate, four government members spoke on the fishery, while opposition members spoke for less than a minute.
Furthermore, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Critic for the third party neglected to ask any questions during Question Period. However, a news release was issued immediately after the proceedings asking for the Provincial Government to publicize its stance on fleet separation and the owner/operator policy. Minister King noted that the Premier had previously confirmed the Provincial Government’s policy regarding the inshore fishery.
“Apparently neither party considered a discussion on the fishery a valuable use of their time; this disregard for such an important issue to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is unfortunate,” said Minister King. “Every day we see the opposition issue news releases and tweet about what they claim are informed and factual opinions on the fishery. I am disappointed that when given the chance to debate in the people’s legislature, the opportunity was essentially ignored. Rest assured, our government takes fishery issues seriously and will work to ensure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are the primary beneficiary of this historical resource.”