GIMLI, MB – James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman, and Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, joined their provincial counterparts today to celebrate the Province of Manitoba’s decision to create flexible marketing options for commercial fishers in the province. Following the announcement, MPs Bezan and Sopuck, along with Conservative Fisheries Critic Mark Strahl, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the Province of Manitoba for announcing their intention to withdraw from the Freshwater Fish Marketing Act monopoly participation agreements. This is the first step toward allowing Manitoba fishers the opportunity to market their own products and in ensuring that they get the best prices for their catch.
“The Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC) was originally created to collectively market the catch of commercial fishers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and parts of Northwestern Ontario. However, the FFMC does not provide fishers with marketing freedom or competitive prices in comparison to commercial fishers in other parts of North America. Additionally, the Auditor General of Canada has been critical of FFMC waste and mismanagement.
“Due to these ongoing problems, the Provinces of Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan have all formally withdrawn from FFMC over the past few years. The Northwest Territories has also been working at leaving the FFMC monopoly system for their commercial fishing industry.
“The previous Conservative government appointed a CEO who was overhauling FFMC to make it more market responsive, efficient and working on behalf of commercial fishers. Unfortunately, the Liberal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans suspended him without just cause.
“Conservatives support the creation of open markets that attract investment, encourage innovation, create value-added jobs and build a stronger economy for all Canadians. That is why our previous Conservative government passed the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, and why our party adopted policy to allow marketing freedom for Western Canadian commercial fishers and their families.
“Today, we are pleased to support the creation of flexible marketing options for commercial fishers in Manitoba. As the Official Opposition, we call upon the Liberal government to immediately implement marketing freedom in Manitoba so commercial fishers can enjoy the same benefits being experienced in the rest of Canada.”