November 3, 2006
I want to set the record straight on a number of misleading statements in the media that claim there have been cuts to core DFO programs here in British Columbia and across the country. The department's supplementary estimates, which were released this week, show the complete picture.
Under Canada's New Government overall funding for the department has actually increased not decreased.
When I arrived at DFO, it is an understatement to say that the financial situation was challenging. Years of cutbacks threatened core activities such as science, enforcement, habitat monitoring and Coast Guard operations.
Canada's New Government increased the annual budget of DFO by $99 million. That's new money that will be there every year to help ensure our scientists, fishery officers and the brave men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard have the resources necessary to do their jobs.
I increased the number of fishery officers from 162 to 176 when the previous government had planned to cut them.
We added twelve new habitat monitor positions allowing our enforcement people to focus on their work on the Fraser and in Pacific coastal areas, when the
Liberal government planned to do nothing.
This positive trend is emerging across the country. In addition to progress here on the west coast, we've also deployed a total of twenty-seven fishery officer recruits across the Atlantic provinces. This is the first significant recruitment of fishery officers since 2003 and I am proud to say that further recruitment and training is planned for 2007.
We've begun beefing up our science capacity, investing an additional $15.5 million this year alone.
Protecting our fisheries is a responsibility I take very seriously. While it is fair for opposition members and environmental groups to offer criticism of our efforts, any claims of budget cuts are completely false. I encourage people to look at the facts and consider them before coming to conclusions.
For more Information:
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada