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MP Melillo participates in Emergency Debate on fisheries dispute

MP Melillo participates in Emergency Debate on fisheries dispute

KENORA, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~   October 2020 (LSN)  MP Melillo criticized the Liberal government’s slow response on the Nova Scotia lobster fisheries crisis during an Emergency Debate last night 

In the House of Commons Monday, MP Melillo condemned the “terrible acts of violence” in Nova Scotia and called for the Liberal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to mediate the dispute.

MP Melillo stated that Liberal inaction has allowed tensions to rise to dangerous levels. “The RCMP have been involved - there are now people who are asking the military to get involved. I think that there are many members on this side of the House that now want to know, what is it going to take for this government to get involved to ensure that there’s a peaceful solution right now, and in the longer term?” he asked.

Sydney-Victoria Liberal MP Jaime Battiste largely avoided the question, instead claiming that Mi’kmaq leadership are “quite afraid of…increased presence of military in that area.” (This appears to contradict Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, who has been calling for military intervention).

MP Battiste did not say whether Minister Bernadette Jordan would be sent in to negotiate.

Disputes between Mi’kmaq lobster fishers asserting their treaty right to earn a moderate livelihood and commercial fishers have erupted in violence in Nova Scotia, requiring heavy RCMP presence. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has stated that the escalation could have been averted had the government acted to facilitate negotiations last month.

The Conservatives were critical of the Liberal government’s decision to call an unnecessary emergency debate. Melillo called the debate “pure political theatre” and accused the Liberals of using it as a stalling tactic.

“The Liberals have the power to resolve this dispute right now. There’s nothing to debate – Minister Jordan needs to go to Nova Scotia to sit down with all parties and a peaceful resolution,” he said.

 

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