Solution for Burnt Church

The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Qualicum Beach, B.C. -- I'm fed up with the Keystone Kops charade going on at Burnt Church, N.B. This whole sorry, Supreme-Court-initiated fiasco has gone on far too long. I can understand the reluctance of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the RCMP to provoke, or be provoked into, another Oka crisis, but this mess has to come to an end.

Has anyone in authority on the government side asked simply, "How much lobster can the Mi'Kmaq people of Burnt Church eat?" I would think that by now they are knee-deep in lobsters unless they are being sold to dealers and consumers off the reservation.

It seems to me that the solution then becomes one not of confrontation on the water, but rather cutting off the profit motive for their actions.

If restaurants are convicted of selling venison, moose or caribou meat taken out of season, they are heavily fined. Are these lobsters not also being taken out of season? Is it not relatively simple to track the movement of the lobsters from reservation to buyer?

Let's have some innovative thinking here.