Assembly Responds to Senate’s “Peace on the Water” Report
July 20, 2022
Last week the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans issued their Peace on the Water report which is a welcomed perspective by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs (Assembly).
Earlier this year, Chief Carol Potter of Bear River, Janice Maloney and Eric Zscheile, both representing the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office, as well as other Mi’kmaw witnesses appeared before the senate committee as part of this study. The Assembly was pleased to learn that all of the concerns that the Mi’kmaw delegation brought forward, were accurately reflected in the report.
“Hearing the committee report that they believe a new way forward is needed and that Rights-based fisheries should be under the sole jurisdiction of Indigenous Peoples was welcomed and appreciated,” said Chief Gerald Toney, Fisheries Co-Lead for the Assembly. “We have been at the table, and have harvesters on the water, saying the exact same thing.”
In conducting research for Peace on the Water, the Senate Standing Committee heard testimony about the ongoing systemic racism within Canada’s policies and regulations and made recommendations to integrate Indigenous laws, principles, and knowledge into decision-making processes.
“The decisions about our Treaty Rights should not be a top-down approach from Canada,” continued Chief Toney. “We have been making strides forward here in Nova Scotia to see our harvesters can take to the waters safely to exercise their Right to fish, but we all agree that more needs to be done and just as the report suggests, the Mi’kmaq need to be able to co-govern and co-manage these fisheries, as true Nation-to-Nation partners.”
The Assembly was pleased to see that in their report, the committee also made recommendations to promote ongoing education and dialogue and while discussions have been faring better lately, that Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada move to lead fisheries-related negotiations, with Fisheries and Oceans Canada acting in an advisory capacity.
The Assembly believes that the Senate Standing Committee successfully captured the concerns brought forward and hopes that Peace on the Water will be recognized by the Government of Canada as the foundation for all future discussions.
Director of Communications
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office