Mr. Prime Minister, I am from the Mikmaq Nation in Cape Breton Island. I am a fishermen.

Shunpiking, Atlantic Canada Today
May, 2002, Vol. 7, Number 41

I am writing to you today, because for simple reasons & concerns: the seismic testing that they want to do offshore Cape Breton Island. First of all I would like to say that maybe one or two hundred people are crying about jobs. I read somewhere pipe fitters & tradesmen. What about the few thousand fishermen? They are saying that they are only a few people always trying to block the offshore activity, well, what about the giants that are trying to destroy our oceans? In my opinion these oil companies are just looking to get rich fast and the government would get a portion a small kickback.

I remember back in 1997, Sable Oil promised our Mikmaq jobs offshore oil. At the time I was in interested in one of these jobs, so I went off to Cuba on a training vessel hoping, like a fool, to get a job in return. I realized about a year or so later! that all the promises were only meant for a short term; all they needed was a few Token Indians, Plastic Medicine men, to pave the pipeline, and out with the Indians. I'm not sure if they kept any of our people, I don't believe so, maybe one on the side just in case they ever need him. My point, Mr. Prime Minister, is that every time when something good & positive happens to us, someone somewhere will try to destroy it. I do believe the oil companies are a bunch of nasty people & they will eat & destroy anything in their path no matter the consequences. So with this seismic testing they are hoping for oil for what -- 10 /12 / maybe 15 years after that, then pack up go home. I have been involved in the fishing for long enough to know that anytime you start blasting air guns in the ocean, it destroys not only the ear drums of anything in sight but, they don't realize there are millions of other living species like lobster eggs /crab eggs/ whales will go deaf /dolphins that are spiritual in our nation. I would also like to say that non-native & Mikmaq are just starting a positive relationship in our fishery, & to bring the oil rigs for a few hundred jobs in replace of a few thousand.

Furthermore if ever there was a oil spill accident that's it, finished, for the fishery. I read somewhere they want to do more studies. Sir: on this issue after 130 submissions & recommendations -- I'm not a marine biologist -- but I think something is wrong somewhere, I think overall the future is at stake of the fishermen. I would like to say, in general fish where here before the monies, I think there is a good thing happening among the non-native & first nations peoples. It would be sad to spoil it. In a situation like this people fighting for something together is a good thing for both sides, something they really believe in, not just for the wildlife & the species & fish, but for themselves, their ancestry/heritage/the very source of how they have been brought up, & that's the place they call Canada's Ocean playground.
I hope that the gift our creator has passed on to us, is not just another wasteland, I think this Island has had enough of toxins left behind.
Concerned citizen from Cape Breton Island

Jerome Basque,
St. Peters

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