February 26, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Raymond John Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Raymond Skelly (North Island-Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, I take pleasure in having an opportunity to put a few remarks on the record concerning this legislation on small business.
I want to take a different tack. Small business is a very broad term. We tend to think in terms of small manufacturing organizations, retail outlets or service opportunities. One area of small business involves the fishers who participate in the Pacific fishing industry off the coast of British Columbia. These individuals view themselves as small business entrepreneurs. They are generally individuals who own a fishing vessel, who go out in pursuit of economic activity and who generally participate in the ebb and flow with the prevailing nature of the resource, the economy and the management plans of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The impact of the combination of the chartered banks and the Government of Canada on fishers or that small business sector on the coast of British Columbia is interesting. I want to talk about what the government has done to fishers in the Pacific fishing industry.
First, just over 20 years ago along came a fellow named Jack Davis, a Liberal minister of fisheries, who decided the way to resolve the problem of overfishing on the west coast was to put in place a licence limitation program. I
guess we can say that was the first government impact without any response to consultation. In this small business area many people actually advocated against the activity. The government forged ahead and imposed on these small business people a regime that was extremely harmful, contrary to the recommendations made by people in the industry and wise observers. This was the wrong approach. There was no consultation.
This licence limitation program created an enormous increase in fishing capacity. People went out, especially some companies involved in the fishing industry, and pulled every wreck off the beach in British Columbia and threw a fishing licence on it. They understood clearly how Jack Davis and the Liberal government had instantly created a source of enormous wealth. They pulled those wrecks off the beach, put licences on them and created an enormous increase in capacity. Some individuals became very creative in further increasing the capacity when they pyramided those licences and turned-

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