Submitter: Tim Tyler
Date Submitted: April 19, 2010
The commission should recommend that legislation be passed to allow private prosecutions under the Fisheries Act to proceed. Currently, the Act often goes unenforced, leading to disrespect for the law and moral justification for breaking it, as demonstrated by the regular dumping of deleterious substances in the Coquitlam River.
Even though we can prove beyond a reasonable, scientific and established judicial doubt that "deleterious substances" are being dumped on a regular basis into the Coquitlam river in excess of that allowed under statute, we cannot get the DFO or the Prov. Dept. of the Environment to press charges against the offenders under the Fisheries Act. (By way of explanation, the Coquitlam River traditionally had 'bastard' (e.g.: spring) Sockeye migrate upstream until the current dam was erected in 1911-12. Landlocked Kokanee have been trapped behind it ever since. Recently, several escaped and have returned to spawn in the Lake only to be stymied by the dam. This is a tremendous source of Sockeye enhancement that is being looked into as I type. There is no ladder over the new dam, currently being constructed.)
Additionally, private prosecutions under the foregoing Act are regularly either stayed or dismissed by the Provicial Crown even when the foregoing costs of prosecution are willing to be born by the private party.
What this means is that ordinary citizens cannot get the laws of the land enforced, even when they seek to do it themselves at no cost to the Crown. Ultimately, this leads to disrespect for the law and moral justification for breaking it in furtherance of the laws' obvious intent. In this respect there truly is one law for the Government and another for the people.
My suggestion to the Commission is to recommend to the Federal Government that they pass necessary legislation to deny the foregoing right of denial to Provincial authorities and allow private prosecutions under the Fisheries Act to proceed and for costs of prosecution to be allotted later under the normal procedures that now apply.
At least that way we could get a fair hearing, something regularly denied to us now by our own government(s).