MP Miller and former MPP Murdoch finally get a copy of native fishing agreement.
by Kevin Bernard
A native fishing agreement between the province and two First Nation bands in Grey Bruce is finally seeing the light of day.
The deal that was struck in 2005, involved the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Chippewas of Nawash and Saugeen First Nations.
It was a four year agreement that aimed to regulate and manage commercial fishing activities of the two bands.
In 2006, Bruce Grey Owen Sound MP Larry Miller, and former MPP Bill Murdoch asked to see the details of the agreement.
Miller tells Bayshore Broadcasting News that after eight years, the MNR has finally released the information.
The Conservative MP says a package was delivered to him and Murdoch last Thursday.
Miller says when they asked to see the agreement in 2006, they were originally told no.
The two went to the Freedom of Information Commissioner who initially said they could see it, but both the MNR and the two local bands then moved to stop it's release.
The most controversial part of the package shows the MNR was giving the two Native bands $150,000 a year, in each of the four years of the deal.
MP Larry Miller says it adds insult to injury, seeing the government basically paying the bands to sign the agreement.
Miller says it also aims to limit the size and length of nets used by Commercial fishermen.
That was supposed to be 300 meters long, but he knows of places where they are five kilometres of net in the water.
But Miller says the MNR is doing nothing about enforcing the agreement with the Native groups.
The Conservative MP can't believe it took eight years to get the information, which is out of date anyway since the agreement expired in 2009.
There is a new native commercial fishing agreement in place for Bruce and Grey Counties, and it includes $850,000 in provincial funding for the two First Nations over a five year period.