August 6th, 2020
APPLICATIONS TO FINALLY OPEN FOR MANITOBA FISHERS
This follows months of Liberal delays and inaction
MANITOBA – James Bezan, Conservative Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman and Niki Ashton, NDP Member of Parliament for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski responded to today’s announcement by Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard about the Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant applications.
MPs Bezan and Ashton stated:
“Although we see Minister Jordan’s announcement as a much-needed step in the right direction, she still fails to answer for the unnecessary weeks of delay and confusion with the implementation of the Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant.
“Manitoba’s fish harvesters will have waited three and a half months since the Prime Minister’s May 14th announcement just to be able to apply. And even now, the Minister has not provided a timeline of how much longer they will have to wait to receive their benefit after submitting an application.
“The application period will open on August 24, 2020 and close on September 21, 2020.
“Right now, we are concerned the Liberal government may not pay out the benefits or grants until after the application period closes. This would extend the wait of commercial fishers to over 18 weeks after the original announcement. We call on Minister Jordan to explain the exact timeline of when commercial fishing businesses and families will have money in hand.
“As well as, we continue to ask her to follow through on the other specifics asks we have previously outlined: to identify a point person to work directly with Manitoba fishers; and ensure any oversupply at the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation is made available to foodbanks and other organizations addressing food insecurity as well as on an ongoing basis during this pandemic.
“The longer Manitoba’s freshwater fishing industry has to wait for support, the harder it gets for fishing families and businesses to recover. For many northern, remote and Indigenous communities, fishing is the economic backbone and without it the community and tertiary businesses will be economically devastated.
“Manitoba’s commercial fishing families and businesses continue to wait for answers. It is time for Minister Jordan to listen to their valid concerns and be candid about why support has not yet reached them.”