sterling belliveau & cooke aquaculture staff
Queens-Shelburne MLA Sterling Belliveau recently went public – in exclusive interviews with SCT and other media – complaining about Cooke Aquaculture not following through on its promise to build a fish processing plant in Shelburne and to expand food production in Truro.
Cooke’s sugar-coated promise was to create 400 jobs in return for the approval of major expansion of open pen fish farms in the province. Glenn Cooke, in his acceptance speech for a 2012 $25 million loan-grant combo, praised Belliveau and his boss, then-premier Darrell Dexter, as if they were the saviours of coastal communities.
Dexter, Belliveau and Al Delaney, the mayor of Shelburne, seemed to be the only ones who actually believed that this promise was anything but a means for Cooke to get a big chunk of Nova Scotia taxpayers’ money.
Strangely, this announcement was made a few weeks after 300 citizens representing more than 100 organizations outlined the pollution, poison and disease issues of this industry as experienced in New Brunswick, and now very evident in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It may not be as surprising, since renowned scientists and citizens of British Columbia had been identifying these issues for 25 years.
The presence of anoxic sludge moving on sea currents, shoreline fouling, pesticide treatments, cage damage with fish escapes, viruses deadly to the salmon including mass mortality, damage and risk to wild salmon populations and lobster fisheries had been identified and communicated to government officials by dozens of citizens, scientists, business operators and fishermen.
Belliveau’s complaint does nothing but expose himself and Dexter for their gullibility to have been “sweet-talked” into handing the $25 million over to Cooke in the first place. Recall that Belliveau was minister of both the department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Environment, but seemed to be strangely oblivious to all the identified problems. How far can one bury one’s head in the “beach sand?”
Going on three years later, dozens of requests through Freedom of Information to find out what happened to the $25 million and/or obtain other pertinent answers have been either ignored or evaded by both governments.
Mr. Belliveau, you could have done well to have kept silent on this issue. Your exposure illustrates a high level of gullibility and failure to listen to and support the wishes of your constituents.
Fred Giffin, Liverpool, NS