Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Gut DFO Like A Cod"

How do you solve a problem like the DFO? Here's an excerpt from an essay by Silver Donald Cameron, who writes a Sunday column in the Halifax Herald. You can find his articles on his website by clicking on his name above. Thanks to my father for passing this on.

(Bolding in the text is mine.)

"What are we going to do about the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)? John MacKnight, the community development guru from Chicago, has borrowed a term from medicine to describe certain social and governmental programs. Health problems caused by physicians are "iatrogenic." You undergo surgery for an inflamed appendix; the surgeon leaves a towel inside you. The festering towel is an iatrogenic problem: the doctor created it.
By the same token, says MacKnight, social programs may have unintended side effects that cancel out their actual benefits. As with social programs, so with DFO.

Is the harm caused by that department not greater than the benefits it produces? Its mandate was to manage the fishery for the long-term benefit of the people of Canada. Its "management" has made the East Coast groundfishery a memory, and the West Coast salmon fishery a basket case. En route to its utter failure, DFO distorted the findings of its own scientists, whose warnings of impending stock collapses, said an internal DFO report, were 'gruesomely mangled and corrupted to meet political ends...'


'DFO has not been able to give the fishermen any useful advice on the recovery of the cod stocks,' Dr. Ransom Myers told me in 1998. A former DFO scientist, Myers holds the Killam Chair of Ocean Studies at Dalhousie and is widely considered one of Canada's leading fish scientists.

'DFO Ottawa initially claimed that the cod would recover completely in two years,' he said. 'I think we are looking at at least a decade and perhaps two decades. If DFO, with 800 bureaucrats in Ottawa, cannot tell fishermen anything about this issue, then why are they being paid?'"

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