HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is urging Ottawa to outline what constitutes authorized harvesting in a “average livelihood” fishery, after a dispute about Indigenous fishing treaty rights boiled over on the weekend.
In a press release Saturday on Twitter, McNeil mentioned the federal Division of Fisheries and Oceans must reply the query of what a average livelihood appears like earlier than the province can study its personal guidelines for fish consumers.
He mentioned Nova Scotia’s rules depend on the federal division’s “authority and accountability to handle the fishery and determine what are authorized, licenced fisheries.”
McNeil added that the province is working with Ottawa to discover a facilitator to “deliver the perimeters collectively.”
“The best way to resolve the problem is thru respectful dialogue,” he mentioned.
His feedback got here after a number of acts of violence towards Indigenous fishers in southwestern Nova Scotia.
A lobster pound in Center West Pubnico, N.S., was burned to the bottom early Saturday, destroying the lobster catch of Mi’kmaq fishers.
Earlier within the week, two clashes involving lots of of individuals came about exterior fish crops that retailer Indigenous-caught lobster.
The Mounties have made two arrests in relation to the incidents, with one man charged with assault towards a neighborhood Indigenous chief and one other man charged with arson for allegedly burning a car.
A person thought of an individual of curiosity within the lobster pound fireplace stays in hospital with life threatening accidents.
The assaults have been broadly condemned, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying he’s “appalled by the acts of violence, intimidation, and destruction going down in Nova Scotia.”
“The perpetrators will probably be held accountable,” he mentioned Saturday on Twitter, noting that Ottawa has authorized the request to supply extra policing assist. “We’re targeted on protecting individuals protected.”
The escalating tensions additionally prompted a present of solidarity in Halifax on Sunday, the place lots of of individuals gathered at Grand Parade Sq. to point out assist for Mi’kmaq fishers.
In entrance of a giant signal that learn “Respect the treaties, shield the sacred,” a number of audio system addressed the gang and spoke out in regards to the violence directed at Indigenous fishers. Protesters held placards carrying slogans reminiscent of “We’re all treaty individuals.”
Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation mentioned he’s grateful for the extra policing and legislation enforcement assets.
However he mentioned among the “injury, destruction, racist behaviour, harassment and intimidation” may have been prevented had repeated requests for a better police presence been addressed extra promptly.
Nonetheless, Sack mentioned he appreciates the efforts of native RCMP and is happy they’ll get the again up wanted throughout an “extraordinarily overwhelming time for all of us.”
The Supreme Court docket of Canada issued a landmark determination in 1999 that mentioned the Mi’qmaq and Maliseet individuals of Atlantic Canada and the Gaspe area of Quebec have a proper to earn a “average livelihood” from fishing.
The ruling upheld the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1752, which promised Indigenous Peoples the appropriate to hunt and fish their lands and set up commerce.
Many non-Indigenous critics, nevertheless, cite a clarification issued by the courtroom, stating the treaty rights could be topic to federal rules.
Business fishermen have additionally expressed concern with the conservation of fish and lobster shares.
But others have argued that business fishing seasons are based mostly on the financial system and commerce, and the dimensions of the small Indigenous fishery doesn’t influence conservation.
The dispute has change into so heated that the top of a Maritime Fishermen’s Union native resigned, citing harassment and intimidation towards himself and his household.
Joel Comeau stepped down hours earlier than a deliberate assembly with Sack, saying he feared for his security.
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 18, 2020.
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