CONTRIBUTION · 2nd May 2011
The Cohen Inquiry is a public inquiry, but the further we get into why the Fraser sockeye are in trouble the more federal government is trying to prevent anything from going public.
To participate in the inquiry and get access to the Commission’s database of documents provided by Participants, including the salmon farming disease records, I was required by the Commission to sign an Undertaking that I would not disclose those documents until they became part of the public record as an exhibit. I believed that was reasonable in respect of the database.
However, the Commission Counsel has now interpreted that the Undertaking applies to more than the database, that it applies to all Applications, correspondence and legal material filed by Participants in proceedings before the Commission.
On April 13th 2011, I made a formal request to the Commission to be released from the undertaking on a limited basis so that I might report information I consider to be urgent and required by law to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in respect to a very significant risk to wild salmon. My concern is the result of correspondence with the CFIA.
On April 21, the Commission Counsel ruled on that Application. Under the Commission’s new rules, the outcome of this Application cannot and will not be made public, and all Application material, including the submissions of the government and other participants are being kept secret from the public. Commission counsel has directed that I cannot say what the information is, I cannot say whether I have made a report or not, and I cannot say what the position of the Federal and Provincial Governments were.
This is unacceptable to me.
The Cohen Commission is about a public fishery and should be a “public inquiry” information should not be suppressed. This is an inquiry into the fate of wild salmon,not matters of national security! This level of secrecy does not serve the people of Canada, but it does serve Norwegian salmon farming corporations.
I have instructed my lawyers to make a formal Application to the Commissioner to allow public access to my most recent Application and the Application materials, and in future to all other applications and correspondence to the Commission. If necessary, I have asked my lawyers to make application before the Federal Court to get a ruling that will end this secrecy, and any more proceedings behind closed doors.
We will be walking from the Sidney Area to the Victoria Parliament on the eve of the election, May 1, to Peacefully and Powerfully make it clear wild salmon are essential to British Columbia for details of place and time see salmonaresacred.org