- BC Games
Proof of a Healthy Democracy
The visit of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to the North Shore last Tuesday reflected two key elements of a healthy democracy – engaged citizens and a responsive government. The visit was beneficial, for it provided a forum to discuss issues that had been put into writing by John Fraser and Dave Brown in their recent letter to the editor. 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, including members from Bowen Island, has consistently stepped up to provide guidance for me as your MP to bring to our Government. The Roundtable has helped me effect a solid record of measurable results in the fisheries; results that occurred through their efforts and because we have a government that listens and responds. I am proud of Minister Shea for meeting with the Roundtable so soon after Fraser and Brown published their constructively critical letter. The Minister received deserved praise for implementing items we in the riding have supported through consistent dialogue with her – notably, she has been here three times. The achievements are many and include: the Closed Containment Salmon Aquaculture study performed by the Fisheries Committee; the creation of the new Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program in Budget 2013, under which the Roundtable and the Squamish River Watershed Society just received funding for ground-breaking projects; and the transfer of all funds collected by the Pacific Salmon Conservation Stamp to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, also a Budget 2013 initiative. The Roundtable also had the opportunity to raise several issues with her, and given her track record in responding to local constituents, I have no doubt that she took seriously the requests that were put before her. More importantly, we saw once again the playing out of an important step in the cycle of a healthy democracy – the interaction between an engaged citizenry and a responsive government.
John Weston, M.P. (West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country)