Show Me The Money!!

In the most recent issue (Summer 2008) of BC Outdoors mag there is an article by Bill Otway titled "Where Does the Money Go?", and here is my rant on it!  For those of you that don't subscribe (should!) or read (should!) BC Outdoors, here is the Readers Digest version of Bills article.  It has to do with monies spent by DFO (Dept of Fisheries and Oceans) to "various" groups/companies/individuals with respect to our fisheries on the west and east coast of our great country. Heres the problem, it would appear that the majority on the money "given" away is to our First Nations people!  Now, this is not a "native bashing" exposé by yours truly but merely a rant stating the facts as I have found them on DFOs site, which can be viewed at :  www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/GCSC/index_e.asp  .  I don't know where Bill got the info about this site but whatever, have a good look at it.

Here I go!  In just shy of two years, DFO "gave" out $159,263,781.00 (and pardon me if I'm out a mill or so, my fingers don't work as well as they used to!) to all those various groups I mentioned, and I will break them down as we go along, just bear with me.  When I crunched the numbers a total of $58,468,824.00 of that total went to "other" groups ie: Canadian Coast Guard etc., which leaves a grand total of approx. $100,794,957.00 to the First Nations groups.......................hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?  Now, there are several categories that these grants go under, they are:

1. Contributions under the Aboriginal aquatic resource and oceans management program

2. Contributions under the Aboriginal inland habitat 

3. Contributions to support increased Native participation in commercial fisheries, cooperative fisheries        management arrangements and consultations respecting Aborignal fisheries agreements                      

One of the grants that really stuck out was to a company in Grand Forks, BC, called Donleo Holdings Ltd., to the tune of $1,026,977.00.  As Bill mentioned and I agree, I'm not aware of any commercial fishery in Grand Forks!  I did a check of this company on the internet and it came back with a second company out of Alert Bay, called DMT Fisheries Society, but that's all I could find.  This company went under #3 up above.  There are also numbered companies here in our Province that have received huge grants from DFO, and while the numbers of the company don't mean much (although somewhat suspicious?) the amounts do, $639,220.00 to one, $675,000.00 to another, $525,000.00 to another and on and on.  Another company I found interesting was S & J Fishing Ltd and Lasqueti Fishing Co Ltd who received a grant for $2,347,300.00.  An Internet check of this company indicates that it is an Aquaculture industry and the list of them all is quite long.  So, do they all get these kind of grants?  The only other entry on the web was something with the Royal Bank back in 1990, but a search of their archives did not come up with anything.

Here's another one, Wedgeport Lobster Limited out of (two places) Ingonish and Lower Wedgeport, Nova Scotia.  They employ 11-50 people and have an annual sales volume of 10 to 50 million US!!  Hey, this is off their own website!  They received 3 grants, $36,239.79, $104,622.86 and $210,000.00.  A side note, this particular company was not "related" to any Native fishery, and came under another category for the "money give away" that read "33P Contributions under Fisheries Access Program".  Just trying keep this fair but its hard to do with the information that's there!

OK, how about this one, a ME Gaetan Poulin, got $1,500,000.00, $500,000.00 and $1,925,420.00 !!  I tried to check this dude out, all I could come back with (same address!) was a lawyers office of which ME Gaetan Poulin was an associate.  In the description of just what his area of expertise is, was this, "Sale of boat fishing and fishing permits" and that's how it was translated via computer anyways.  And, his grants did come under the #3 listed above that I refer to as a "catch all"!

Here's another, Newcastle Boat Brokers Ltd out of Nanaimo, they got $70,000.00.  Go to their website, they do just what the name says, sell boats and commercial fishing licenses.  Their grant came in under the "catch all" one as well.  I guess I could go on and on 'cause there are a ton more, or another $96,000,000.00 more.  Its more than obvious that its stuff like this that we find out about that really turns our stomachs, and the worst thing is, there's nothing we can do!  The Federal Gov't would appear to have bottomless pockets for some while others , well, just disappear sometimes.  Hell, I had a contract with the Prov Fisheries for 5 years doing a kokanee count on local lakes.  I got "bumped" last year because I asked for an extra $250.00 bucks to help with the extra cost of gas, it has gone up you know!  They said "we don't have anymore money!", ya, whatever, guess I picked the wrong Gov't to work with!

OK, I'll leave you with one more depressing comment, and this one really hits you in the ol gunny sack!  I did a bit more number crunching, and separated just the BC/Pacific region from the east coast, just for a laugh!  The "others" in BC got a total of $4,087,372.60 worth of grants.  Now, this includes nearly 2 mill to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, quite a worthwhile organization IMHO and, another half mill to the Canadian Coast Guard, so that's a good thing.  OK, the First Nations folks, well, they only came away with a paltry $65,414,418.00!!  Lord tundering jesus as my Newfie sledding partner would blurt out!  I know, I don't know all the facts and ya, I know, my finger slipped on the calculator and I'm out a mill or two but, WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT!!  There is no doubt in my mind that there are in fact bonifide contributions/grants being handed out to various First Nations groups that are helping the fisheries, but 65 million worth in only 2 years?  There is also no doubt in my mind that the perception left after seeing all this is more than negative, and we can thank the Federal Gov't for that.  They are after all, responsible for the doling out of the cash and where or who it goes to and for what, aren't they?  Or is this just another case of some "hush money" to keep people quite!

I guess to top off what I have seen on DFOs site, was the latest news from CBC regarding the appeal by the First Nations people about fishing prior to "others" being able to fish has been upheld in Supreme Court!  The Court ruled that it is not a charter violation that they get to fish a day earlier than the rest of the commercial fisherman.  And they wonder why we're bitter?  There seems to be no end to it, we the taxpayers just keep forking out the cash regardless of what agreements have been reached and then broken.  Our own "native" grounds as described in our National Anthem seem to be constantly under attack and while the rights of some specific groups are being upheld the rest of us are held in contempt.

I'm no politician, not a lawyer, not even a commercial fisherman , just a regular kind of dude with a dash of redneck in me.  I say what millions of others would like to but are afraid to, in fear of getting someone's back up.  I believe in equal rights, the right to free speech and the right to pay taxes but, I don't believe in the BS that we are being handed by some First Nations groups!  Its the sameo story, all it takes is one or two rotten apples in the barrel to ruin the rest, and that's what we see.  Its no different than the East Indian that wanted to have the National Anthem for the Olympics sung in Hindu!!  We went through similar stuff when I was in the Force when East Indians were allowed to wear turbans!  You know something, when your in Canada, you do as the Canadians do, not what you may have done in your own country.  First Nations people, ya, you got some bad deals yadda yadda but you know something, we all have in life!  Don't' you dare single yourself out as a race of people that have been dealt the hand of death by the white man, your better than that.  You continue to live in the past with respect to what has been done to you or what has been taken away from you, move forward from that without draining our Gov't dry!  If you truly want to be treated equally then quit looking for handouts where they shouldn't exist. 

Hey, I'll be the first to say that us "others" aren't' perfect either. I remember when I worked in Kelowna and drove by the Social Services office every Wednesday, it turned my gut!  Here were 20-30 of the "others" lined up, waiting for their Welfare cheque!  And, the majority of them were all young guys that should have been out busting their butt to make a buck like the rest of us, and that hasn't changed a bit to this date.  That's no different than "some" of the commercial fisherman who make a ton of money during their fishing season and then collect EI in the off season, what's up with that!  Our system is screwed, and our Gov't continues to "feed" it via taxpayers dollars.  Is it going to change?  Not likely, unless more regular working folk complain about it, but even then its a crap shoot.  Me, I guess I'll just keep typing and sending letters, seems to be about all a guy can do nowadays!  That's my hook set on it anyways!