COME BUY YOUR TREATY LOBSTER AT PROVINCE HOUSE
ALL CANADIANS POSSESS A CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED TREATY RIGHT TO BUY MI’KMAW LIVELIHOOD LOBSTER
#HonourTheTreaties #AmendTheAct #WeAreAllTreatyPeople
ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16 AT 12:00 PM, lawfully caught Mi’kmaw livelihood lobster will be sold to Nova Scotians, as fellow treaty beneficiaries, in front of Province House during Mi’kmaq History Month.
Section 19(1)(b) of the Fish Buyers’ Licensing and Enforcement Regulations under subsection 77(2) of the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act (‘the Act’) criminalizes the purchase of fish caught by persons who do not hold a valid commercial fishing license issued by Fisheries and Ocean Canada. This provision is unconstitutional since it excludes Mi’kmaq from selling lawfully caught fish under the Peace & Friendship Treaties of 1760- 1761 and represents an infringement of their right to a livelihood, as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Simon (1986) and R. v. Marshall (1999). Without access to a market to sell and trade treaty fish, Mi’kmaw cannot sustain themselves, their families, or their communities, and Section 35 of the Constitution affirming the inherent and treaty rights of Aboriginal peoples is negated.
The Act must be amended to if Nova Scotia is to fulfill the constitutionally protected treaty rights of Mi’kmaq and Canadians to sell and buy fish, respectively. We call on the Province to nullify section 19(1)(b) of the Fisheries Buyer’s Licensing and Enforcement Regulations in accordance with the Marshall decision which found that the Mi’kmaq possess a legal right to fish and trade outside of the Department of Fisheries & Oceans licensing regime.
The ongoing legal discrimination against Mi’kmaw fisherpeople must end. Conversely, Canadians possess a treaty right to buy Mi’kmaw-caught fish, yet the current Act disallows their participation in Mi’kmaw fisheries. Canada must fulfill its fiduciary duty to Indigenous peoples by honoring the treaties, in the spirit of peace, friendship, and reconciliation. Amend the Act.