Mr. Lloyd R. Crouse (South Shore):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement regarding the Shelburne County enforcement crisis. By condoning the oppressive crackdown on lobster fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia, the present Liberal Government is once again demonstrating its insensitivity to the need for Canadians in small communities to retain their dignity and economic self-determination.
These fishermen are being unfairly attacked because they were honest enough to inform the Government that the lobster trap limit set in 1968 was being over-fished and needed to be revised. Last fall, these fishermen were anxious to consult with federal officials and resolve the issue, but it soon became clear that the Government did not respect the knowledge and opinions of the fishermen. The Government was determined to bring in its heavy artillery and enforce the old trap limit in spite of evidence that lobster stocks are increasing. This enforcement would ultimately keep these fishermen below the poverty line, or drive them out of business altogether.
It is not only the fishermen who are under attack but the entire social fabric of Shelburne County. The reputation of the Crown is being defiled in the process. Fisheries officers are destroying legal fishing gear and refusing to acknowledge the fact. They are also guilty of making misleading statements and of unreasonable search and seizures, harassment, and unequal application of the law. Every attempt by fishermen to resolve this issue peacefully has been contemptuously rejected. I wrote to the Minister about this on February 28-
Sub-subtopic: PLIGHT OF NOVA SCOTIA LOBSTER FISHERMEN