The P.E.I. legislature has given unanimous support to a motion supporting an Indigenous moderate livelihood fishery.
In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Marshall decision that the Mi'kmaq had a treaty right to hunt, fish and gather in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood".
The Green Official Opposition made a motion earlier this week, calling on government to take every necessary measure to ensure Mi’kmaq fishers in Prince Edward Island are able to exercise this right safely and without prejudice. It also asks government to take every necessary measure to educate Islanders on the Peace and Friendship Treaties.
"As signatories of the Peace and Friendship Treaties, we have an obligation to respect and protect the rights set out in those treaties," stated Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker Thursday. "We jointly condemn any form of violence, racism, or discrimination against Mi’kmaq fishers who are seeking to exercise their legal, treaty right to a moderate livelihood fishery."
Bevan-Baker said the foremost concern his caucus has heard from both Mi'kmaq and commercial fishers is preservation of the fishery and healthy fish stocks.
Bevan-Baker acknowledged the Marshall decision left uncertainty around the definition of “moderate livelihood," and where the issue of conservation fits into the assertion of this right.
"While discussions have been contentious elsewhere, we are very hopeful for P.E.I.," he said.