Since being elected in 2015 Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament Wayne Stetski has been pressuring the Liberal government to reverse the damaging cuts made by the previous Conservative government in the areas of water and eco-system protection. Following an exchange on the floor of Parliament last week he is becoming more confident the Government may be hearing him.
Stetski directly asked the government if they were going to restore a Department of Fisheries and Oceans Office to the Kootenays. The answer was not direct, but did suggest that the region would be receiving more resources for protection and enforcement of fisheries as a result of upcoming changes to the Fisheries Act.
“Cuts to Federal Services have hurt our region, and that damage is particularly obvious when it comes to the protecting our environment,” says Stetski. “We went from 4 to 0 Fisheries staff in our region in 2015, when the department was once looking at having 12, but we have no fewer rivers and lakes.”
Stetski has been praised for his collaborative approach in Parliament, and he is hopeful that the Government is going to do the right thing and re-establish a regional fisheries office in the Kootenays.
“Our water and eco-sysyems are critically important to culture, recreation, environment, agriculture and the economy in Kootenay-Columbia,” says Stetski. “I have been working hard to help the government understand this, and the response I received in in the House of Commons last week suggests that they may be listening. We will need to keep the pressure on to get these important jobs back to the Kootenays.