CAFO Ottawa Meetings (February 20-21, 2020)

Domenico Iannidinardo (left) and another witness appear before the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, May 7, 2019

As we have done for several years now, CAFO members gathered in Ottawa from May 6 to 8 to meet with government and elected officials and conduct our Annual General Meeting.

A view of the swollen Ottawa River behind the Parliament Buildings, May 7, 2019

The purpose of the meetings were to raise our concerns and ideas related to changes to The Fisheries Act, climate change, forest products trade and log exports, recognition of Indigenous rights and title, the election platforms of the three main parties and species at risk.

On the topic of trade, we met with Omar Alghabra who is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Diversification (Minister Jim Carr).  We also discussed the Liberal platform and offered our thoughts on what could be considered.

To discuss the NDP policy platform, the Fisheries Act, species at risk and other topics, we met with Christine Moore, NDP MP for Timiskaming PQ, Rachel Blaney, NDP MP from Vancouver Island and Alexandre Boulerice, NDP Deputy Leader from the riding of Rosement (Montreal area).

We met with officials from NRCan and CIRNA to talk about Indigenous rights as well as NRCan’s involvement in the Pan-Canadian Approach to species at risk that is being led by ECCC.

To discuss the Conservative platform, fisheries and species at risk and other topics, we met with Mark Stahl, Conservative MP from the lower mainland of BC and Robert Sopuck, Conservative MP from Manitoba.

For more detailed conversations about the Fisheries Act and CAFO’s concerns and suggestions related to proposed changes, we met with Phillipe Morel, DFO ADM of Aquatic Ecosystems.

CAFO also appeared before the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans where our Chair, Domenico Iannidinardo did an outstanding job presenting CAFO’s ideas for improvements to the Fisheries Act.  His presentation was followed by many questions from just about every Senator on the committee.  A transcript of the presentation and Q and A session is available.

Domenico Iannidinardo (left) and another witness appear before the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, May 7, 2019

On the topics of Indigenous rights and the Liberal platform, we met with northern Ontario Liberal MP Honourable Bob Nault who is a former Minister of Indian Affairs.

We met with Sue Millburn-Hopwood, ADM of the Canadian Wildlife Service of ECCC to discuss the Pan-Canadian Approach to species at risk and how ECCC might engage with CAFO members on that initiative, the CAFO pilot projects and the government’s protected areas strategy.

More detailed meetings were held with ECCC officials on the morning of May 8 to look at protected areas and learn more about what is considered “protected” and how managed forests and areas within managed forests (such as riparian zones, wetlands, habitat, etc.) could be considered part of the protected landscape.  We had a lengthy meeting with ECCC officials on the Pan-Canadian Approach, progress and plans, and how the CAFO pilot project areas will be included in two of the priority areas – the Saint John River Valley and South West BC.

The meetings concluded with the CAFO AGM.  The business of the association was carried out and two new Directors were elected – Kevin Topolniski (Acadian Timber) and Matthew Merritt (Hancock Forest Management).