Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"We’re standing up for equal treatment for Canadians before the law."

Commercial fishermen, including BC Conservative Party leader John Cummins were in the news yesterday (Globe and Mail Update -- Tuesday June 14th, 2011) with regards to a court case heard a few weeks back,

The court case revolves around a government mandated native only fishery, which many believe goes against the equal rights allocated to all Canadians in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It appears the commercial fishermen in this case, including John Cummins, have been given the right to appeal a recent conviction against them

The Globe and Mail story said that:
The fishermen were convicted of unlawfully setting fishing gear, as well as fishing and possessing salmon, at a time when federal regulators had closed the commercial fishery. Despite the closure, certain aboriginal groups were allowed to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

Mr. Cummins and the fishermen admitted the offenses but challenged the charges on constitutional grounds. They told the court that federal authorities did not investigate or enforce breaches of the law by aboriginal fishermen who were selling fish that was supposed to be for food, social and ceremonial purposes

Meantime, John Cummins was quoted in the story saying:
"We’re standing up for equal treatment for Canadians before the law.  I think every politician should be standing up and saying all Canadians should be treated equally before the law.  I have a problem with politicians who don’t believe that.”

Two things regarding this story:
One ... as I have mentioned previously, and as John Cummins has clearly articulated, there cannot be equal rights for all, if the rights of some are MORE equal than others.

Two ... it will be interesting to see how First Nations fisheries proceed, following approval of the Yale Treaty.  A story in a national native newspaper called "Drum" states that:
The Stó:lo Nation is not happy with the treaty signed between the Yale First Nation and the BC Government. The core issue is salmon fishing in the Fraser Canyon. The Stó:lo have been fishing the area for decades and are outraged that the government would deal directly with the Yale First Nation and not the Tribal Council. The Stó:lo maintain that the Yale Band is part of the Stó:lo Nation, but the Yale Band denies such a claim.

Stay tuned ... I'll keep you posted as more comes out regarding all aspects of these separate, but intertwined, stories.

In Kamloops I'm Alan Forseth, and those are the thoughts of one conservative.
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