“The entire idea is ridiculous. Trudeau is bowing down to a horrendous misinformation parade”

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On the ground level, how is Trudeau’s promise to phase out open-net salmon farms affecting the industry’s workers?

It wasn’t the news that BC salmon farmers were hoping for. Liberals retained power but as a minority government on Monday and with it came the threat of the transition from open net-pen salmon to closed containment in just over five years.

Heather Olney. PHOTO: Provided

At stake
SalmonBusiness talked to Vancouver Island the North Island, BC, resident Heather Olney, whose family depends on the salmon farming industry, especially Mowi Canada West, where her husband works as the Captain of Mowi’s “Orca Chief”.

A prominent Twitter user, she has the Twitter Handle @HeatherPaddle and frequently uses her voice to support the 7,000 workers and coastal communities, to whom she is very much engaged with, who work with salmon and what is at stake without it.

“I have to say I am disappointed beyond measure that the East has seen fit to re-elect the corrupt Trudeau Liberals. Thankfully as a minority which I personally don’t think will last long given the division between the parties. I am appalled that NFLD voted Liberal considering the loss of jobs in the oil patch and now the Mowi cancellation of licenses due to a naturally occurring water temperature event. As for here in BC, I personally cannot see the farms being closed and forced on land by 2025. The entire idea is ridiculous and Trudeau bowing down to a horrendous misinformation parade. I doubt Trudeau will be with us by 2025 anyway to enforce that,” she explained in a message on Twitter.

Foreign-funded fantasy
Olney said that a lot of her family is involved in salmon farming. Her husband is a Mowi West veteran and her nephews work for Badinotti washing nets. She also questioned the reality of Trudeau’s plans for land-based and closed containment.

“It is widely known no on-land facility has ever raised fish in the quantities currently raised in net pens in BC. The whole idea of placing the farms on land is a foreign-funded fantasy initiated by our resident American-cum-Canadian activist who falsely proclaims to be a professional biologist. Personally I think her support has waned amid every one of her claims being debunked by real fish scientists and DFO studies. I don’t foresee the current minority government meeting with much success considering the alienation of the West,” she said.

A lot of pressure
She added that she may have to wait until the next elections to get the political support it needs.

“I know the Conservatives are wholly in support of salmon farming and trust once they are back in power the idea of forcing farms on land will fall by the wayside. As for now since the natives in Broughton have received a substantial influx of cash to work with the farms I expect they will want that $$ to continue to flow in and I’m hopeful they’ll come to their senses and realize the industry could be quite a cash cow if they’d only use their heads.”

How is this affecting you?

“It puts a lot of pressure on us as personally, my husband is 59 and 6 years from retirement from a 22-year stint as master on the Norwegian wellboat, “Orca Chief”. There are so many jobs, directly and indirectly, related to the industry. Two of our nephews are employed by Badinotti washing nets. There are truckers, net menders, aluminium welders, fish health, vehicle leases etc. If you can think of a business or industry salmon farming relies on it and the employment circle is huge. Here on Vancouver Island, the North Island, relies heavily on the industry for employment as NDP have failed to support logging, the mills are all gone, mining is closed and commercial salmon fishing is just a memory.”