Excessive secrecy at Cohen’s Public Inquiry

Alexandra Morton is raising another alarm; this time about secrecy surrounding the Cohen Commission into Fraser River salmon. Mark Hume of the Globe and Mail adds a valuable column as well. This is the message from Alex:

Please see article in today’s Globe and Mail. There are some fishy secrets that need to be public.

The Cohen Inquiry is a public inquiry, but the further we get into why the Fraser sockeye are in trouble, the more federal government is trying to suppress the Inquiry.

To access the Commission’s database of documents provided by Participants, including the salmon farming disease records, I was required by the Commission to sign an Undertaking that I would not disclose those documents until they became part of the public record as an exhibit. I believed that was reasonable in respect to the database.

However, the Commission Counsel is now saying the “Undertaking” applies to more than the database, that it applies to all Applications, correspondence and legal material filed by Participants in proceedings before the Commission.

On April 13th 2011, I made a formal request to the Commission to be released from the undertaking on a limited basis so that I might report information I consider to be urgent and required by law to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in respect to a very significant risk to wild salmon. The CFIA is the agency that keeps records on reportable disease outbreaks in animals. My concern is the result of correspondence with the CFIA. On April 21, the Commission Counsel ruled on that Application. >

Under the Commission’s new rules, the outcome of this Application cannot and will not be made public, and all Application material, including the submissions of the government and other participants are being kept secret from the public. Commission counsel has directed that I cannot say what the information is, I cannot say whether I have made a report or not, and I cannot say what the position of the Federal and Provincial Governments were.

This is unacceptable to me.

The Cohen Commission is about a public fishery and should be a “public inquiry” information should not be suppressed. This is an inquiry into the fate of wild salmon,not matters of national security! This level of secrecy does not serve the people of Canada, but it does serve Norwegian salmon farming corporations.

I have instructed my lawyers to make a formal Application to the Commissioner to allow public access to my most recent Application and the Application materials, and in future to all other applications and correspondence to the Commission. If necessary, I have asked my lawyers to make application before the Federal Court to get a ruling that will end this secrecy, and any more proceedings behind closed doors.

We will be walking from the Sidney area to the Victoria Parliament on the eve of the election, May 1, to Peacefully and Powerfully make it clear wild salmon are essential to British Columbia for details of place and time see

Alexandra Morton

PS I received an email this morning from Pair Vote, it might be worth checking out.

Categories: Fishery

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6 replies »

  1. My God,
    Where is everyone on this one. My admiration for this woman knows no bounds. Where are the high profile native chiefs? Where are the environmentalists? Where are all of us?
    Do none of us care enough to get behind her?
    I don't know how we can live with ourselves seeing this. I am thoroughly ashamed of all of us, she is so brave and we are so weak!
    Don F


  2. No apology ever needed from RossK. His is a timely article at The Gazeteer, one to which I'm paying serious attention since I'll be voting in North Vancouver. The choice is between a sharp, very well educated young man with impressive resume and a neo-liberal international banker who was born with a feeding ladle fashioned by Christofle Silversmiths and schooled at Upper Canada College – where a year's fees for one child are twice the average income of many Canadians.


  3. Thanks Norman.

    Strategic Voting for Lib can beat the Con in North Van. The Dipper and the Green cannot win, but their supporters have enough votes between them to ensure that the Con does not prevail.


  4. I don't really think, we are weak. We are just not corrupt, and, decent people have principals. The BC liberals have had, no principals for ten years.

    Our BC courts are corrupt. Judges are corrupt, as are the RCMP. Elections BC is corrupt. There is nothing in BC, that isn't corrupt. Campbell's corrupt sale of the BCR trial, was a blatant farce. Citizens get no-where with reason. We can't rationalize with a government, that isn't rational.

    Our country's governing officials, and our province governing officials have no respect for our eco system. Perhaps Norway is paying this province, to keep their salmon farms. It's just too bad if our wild salmon are killed off. If they had a concern for our wild salmon, they would have taken measures to stop, this abomination.

    Harper and Campbell are trying to force the Enbridge pipeline and the dirty oil tankers on the people. The pipeline burst out of Edmonton. The pipeline burst in Michigan, the Gulf oil spill, the Valdez spill, none of that will stop the greed.

    Man is the most destructive animal on earth. Our lakes, rivers, streams, land, air are all being polluted. Our oceans are dying. Man has even polluted space with debris. Salmon are just not significant. Lies, deceit, corruption, big bucks and greed, is all that matters to politicians.

    Politicians, are too stupid to see, we can't drink gas and oil from our waterways, we can't eat gold and copper, we can't grow food on poisoned land, we can't breathe poisoned air, we can't eat from dead oceans. We can't eat the house, on our disappearing farmland. Idiots and fools.


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