N.B. reserve signs fishery deal Canadian Press

Canadian Press
Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Saint John, N.B. Federal Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal is hailing his department’s first interim fishing deal in New Brunswick as a breakthrough for peace on the water. 

The Red Bank, N.B., band has signed a three-year deal with Ottawa that includes money for everything from fishing licences to gear and training. 

“I think every time we sign an agreement, it’s a breakthrough,” Mr. Dhaliwal said in Ottawa on Wednesday. “I think this will be a model in terms of how to create real opportunities for some of our aboriginal communities. It’s a very good sign.” 

Mr. Dhaliwal did not have specifics of the deal, but said it is part of the “hundreds of millions of dollars” Ottawa will spend trying to sign new deals with the 34 native bands in Atlantic Canada and Quebec affected by the Supreme Court of Canada’s so-called Marshall decision. 

The 1999 ruling gave Mi’kmaq and Maliseet bands the right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing, hunting and gathering. 

Red Bank is the fifth band ‹ after two in Quebec and two in Nova Scotia ‹ to sign an interim deal. 

Mr. Dhaliwal said his federal negotiator, James MacKenzie, is in discussions with “many more” bands. 

He said it’s “difficult to predict” if a deal can be reached with the Burnt Church, N.B., reserve, where some of the most violent clashes have occurred between native fishermen and fishery officials.