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Monday, September 11, 2006

Judge Blasts Feds and DFO

Congratulations and a big pat on the back to Justice Bruce Short of the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial court for having the courage and insight to take both the federal government and Department of Fisheries and Oceans to task on fisheries legislation and mismanagement.

In the trial of a local man charged with illegally fishing during last year’s fisheries protest, Judge Short noted that he had no choice under current legislation but to find the man guilty, however he opted to impose the lowest fine precedent would permit, $200. The judge also told the defendant that, had precedent allowed him to do it, he would have imposed an even lower amount.

In his remarks the judge went on to say, in essence, that the real problems in the fisheries were not being caused by individuals catching a few fish for the table but by government mismanagement and a total lack of understanding on fisheries matters by the powers that be. He identified foreign overfishing and bottom trawling as two main contributors to the decline of stocks and voiced his belief that either regulators did not value the resource or saw it as less valuable than something else and were willing to trade it away.

According to Judge Short, fisheries legislators and the legislation itself are an insult to the people in the Province and that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians often are the focus of laws that would be better targeted in other directions.

Thank-you Judge Short. If others in positions such as yours had half the courage and strength of character you have exhibited in this matter Newfoundland and Labrador would quickly become a much better place for all of us to live.


Anonymous said...

Patriot Thank You for writing this post.

This is what was missing in Newfoundland and Labrador in the past, the voices of Judges and Lawyers, who were honest and forthright. If Judges and Lawyers , had spoken out in the past, when they saw things not going the way they should have been, when our resources came up for development and the contracts were being drawn up on our resources, the mistakes that were made would not have been made.

I truly believe those Judges and Lawyers of the past kept silent because of the "me syndrome". They were afraid of losing patronage contracts from both levels of governments.

Of course, in return for keeping their mouths shut, they, no doubt, received business that put a fortune into their pockets for doing so and kept the province of Newfoundland and Labrador forever poor. What a corrupt world. It has been especially corrupt when it came to Newfoundland and Labrador's resources. My God how much Trust did my family put in those damn politicians and Lawmakers and what did we get in return. A bloody boot out of Newfoundland and Labrador to work our resources outside of the province, instead of inside of it. Shocking indeed.

Thank You Judge Short. After all these years, we finally had one Judge appointed to the Bench, who has morals instead of the "me syndrome". You are to be commended Sir for your decision last week, and you have done Labrador and Newfoundland a great deed. Keep up the great work Sir, maybe you should be our next Premier, after Premier Danny Williams has done all the good that he can do for this province.

Anonymous said...

My first post I made a mistake and said "when our resources came up for development and the contracts were being drawn up on our resources, the mistakes that were made would not have been made."

I should have said that they were not mistakes, it was all orchestrated and the resources were dealt out the way politicians and lawyers wanted them to be dealt out.

Not for the life of me do I thing we could have made so many mistakes with our resources.

You think we would have learnt when we gave away the first resource and we saw we weren't getting anything out of it. Our politicians and lawyers should have said then and there "Never Again" from now on we will do what is right for our people. Our resources will benefit Newfoundland and Labrador first.... Labrador and Newfoundland will be the primary beneficiary.

Starrigan said...

It's good to see that there is someone around that actually has balls. Judge Short should be thanked, it's nice to observe the occasional ray of hope.

Anonymous said...

Hats off the Judge Short. Too bad there ain't more of your type.

NL-ExPatriate said...

A true Patriot!

Thank-You Judge Bruce!

And thank the fisher Archibald Collins who is going to take this to the next level the stacked Supreme court of Canada. 3 judge from Ontario 3 from Quebec and 3 from the colonies.

Here is the Article from the Independant

Editor’s note: Judge Bruce Short made
the following remarks in Gander
provincial court on Sept. 6 in the case
of Archibald Collins, 75, of Hare Bay.
Collins pleaded guilty to catching cod
during 2005’s illegal food fishery.
I’m going to make a couple of comments
which I think in all fairness
someone should make, and I guess
I haven’t been a position where I suppose
I can make them. It does strike me
a little bit odd at times, and I’m perhaps
not familiar enough with the fishery to
comment in any great extent, but it
does seem to me to some degree that
this particular province, for whatever
reason at times, seems to bear the brunt
of regulations which might properly be
placed in other areas.
Everyone knows that our fishery, you
know, essentially got destroyed. There
is some debate as to why it got
destroyed but from my perspective I’m
going to basically offer these comments.
First and foremost, it’s no secret
that foreign vessels are just absolutely
raping the stocks just outside of our
limit and one has to question why that’s
been allowed to continue for years and
One would think logically enough
that if the country felt that the resource
had any value whatsoever, that the
country would be significantly more
diligent in protecting that resource.
One could only reasonably conclude, it
seems to me, that the trade off is that
the country is getting something else
that it considers more valuable and I
think that’s sad. From my point of view
it shows disrespect for this province
and that’s abundantly clear.
Our fish is getting traded off for
other things that presumably benefit
other provinces and cause this province
to suffer and never, ever should happen.
The second comment I’ll make and
I’m sure there are different views on
this but it seems to me that if you have
a resource such as fish — and I won’t
make any differentiation between fish
and trees and anything else — that if
they develop equipment that can basically
take all of the fish out of the ocean
in a very short period of time and you
don’t do anything to prohibit that from
happening, it seems to be reasonable
enough for anyone to conclude that
after a while you’re not going to have
any fish.
I have always been of the view —
and that does not seem to be a view that
was held by the regulators — that it’s a
whole lot better for a significant number
of people to make a decent living
off a resource than a small number of
people to make a fortune. That, unfortunately,
is something that we just don’t
seem to get here and that to me is a significant
reason why we don’t have any
If you look at Iceland their fishery
has been fine, it’s been fine all along
and people are still making a good living
off that. I recognize the state of the
law at the time that Mr. Collins committed
this offence and obviously, Mr.
Collins, you breached the law and I
mean that’s the bottom line and I don’t
begrudge the fisheries officers for one
minute fom enforcing the law.
But what it seems to me — and I do
have to say that from the court’s standpoint
it’s extremely aggravating and
extremely frustrating — that it seems to
me that people who have no knowledge
whatsoever of the fishery, have no history
or connection with the fishery
whatsoever and who are so far removed
from the immediacy of the fishery, are
the individuals who get to make the
rules governing the fishery.
I don’t have any hesitation in saying
that from my point of view it’s idiotic,
it’s not the way that it should be done
and until we are able to gain much
more control in the decision-making
process of our own resource, then it
seems to me that our resource is not
going to be properly protected. Having
said that, the precedent that has been
pointed out to me where the lowest fine
imposed was one of $200 and that’s the
one that I’m going with and I can tell
you that if a precedent was pointed out
to me where there was a lower fine than
that imposed, then I would impose a
lower fine.
Not that I condone, by any stretch of
the imagination, a violation of the law,
but it does seem to me that people in
this province have been put in a position
quite unfairly by the regulators of
this resource, for the most part, in my
view at least, either don’t know how to
properly regulate the resource or quite
frankly don’t really care to properly
regulate the resource. That to me is the
bottom line.
Collins was fined $200 and given six
months to pay it.

Anonymous said...

Just check out DFO's own report on bottom dragging and you'll see that they recognize the impact but still arent doing anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to post the link.