Hunter Tootoo, a businessman and Member of Parliament from Nunavut, was selected by Justin Trudeau to serve as Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Tootoo was born and raised in Rankin. He served as member of Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly (Iqaluit Centre) from 1999 to 2013. While a MLA he served in cabinet as the Minister of Education and the Minister Responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation, Homelessness.
In his Minister of Fisheries, Oceans Mandate Letter, the Office of the Prime Minister asked Mr. Tootoo to prioritize and implement these goals:
- Base decisions about ecosystem management (including fish stocks) on scientific evidence and the precautionary principle.
- Work with all stakeholders – namely the provinces, territories, and Indigenous people – to co-manage Canada’s three oceans.
- Support Minister McKenna in protecting the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River Basin, and the Lake Winnipeg Basin.
- Work on restoring sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River (as recommended by the Cohen Commission).
- Review the Harper’s governments’ changes to the Fisheries and Navigable Waters Protection Acts – and incorporate modern safeguards (this is to be done with the Minister of Transport.
- Formalize a federal moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on BC’s north coast (work with Ministers of Transport, Natural Resouces, and Environment & Climate Change).
- In conjunction with the Minister of Environment & Climate Change and Minister of Natural Resources, review Canada’s environmental assessment process and “introduce new, fair processes that will: restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction, while also working with provinces and territories to avoid duplication; ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public interest; provide ways for Canadians to express their views and opportunities for experts to meaningfully participate; and require project advocates to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts.”
- Re-open the Maritime Rescue Sub-centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland and the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base in Vancouver.
- Fulfill the commitments of the National Shipbuilding and Procurement Strategy to obtain new Coast Guard Vessels.
- Improve Marine Safety
- Examine the implications of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems (in conjunction with the Minister of Environment & Climate Change and the Minister of Transport).
Of these 11 goals, only 3 are not directly related to the environment (8, 9, and 10). The other 8 are all environmental goals – although a few can be read as natural resource issues (ie. restoring salmon stocks is also about our economy). This means Catherine McKenna and Hunter Tootoo are going to have to work together closely to implement most – if not all – of their goals.