April 19, 2005
COMMITTEE AGREES TO REQUEST THE MELVIN REPORT
OTTAWA—On April 14, 2005 the Fisheries Committee agreed to a demand from John Cummins, M.P. (Delta-Richmond East) that the Committee request a copy of the Melvin Report from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Later that day the Deputy Minister of Fisheries requested that Bryan Williams, chair of the inquiry into the missing Fraser River sockeye, return the Melvin Report to the Department. Williams then advised the members of his Committee that they would not be receiving a copy of the report due to the demand from the Deputy Minister that the Melvin Report be returned to Department.
The following is the transcript of the proceedings of the Fisheries Committee on April 14, 2005:
“John Cummins (Delta—Richmond East): Mr. Chairman, just one item. The Williams Committee, as you know, released its first report recently and one of the difficulties they had was getting the Melvin Report. The Melvin Report was a report which was done by fisheries officers in the Fraser River and it was concerned about poaching and in actual fact about armed poachers. The committee was denied that report and eventually the day that they submitted their report, the chairman of the committee was given a copy and no one else.
I think given the committee's interest in that report that we should try to get a copy of it. I think it would be informative for us.
I'll just read you a very brief quote from the Williams' Report referencing that Melvin Report, and it says,
‘The Committee finds this very troubling because the information in the report would seem to go the core of enforcement policy and practices with respect to one aspect of the Fraser River sockeye fisheries. The fact that DFO wishes to withhold this evidence from the Committee seems representative of the enforcement policies which have in part contributed to the disappearance of a substantial number of Fraser River sockeye.’
I think the committee might find that report interesting, Mr. Chairman, and not knowing whether I was going to be here or not, I did prepare a letter which I'll give to you suggesting that the committee try to get a copy of that report.
The Chair: I don't think you need to give me a letter, I'll ask the officials to bring it with them when they come for Estimates.”
Copies of Deputy Minister’s letter to Williams and Williams’ memo are available on request.
Contact: John Cummins, M.P.
(613) 992-2957, (cell) (604) 970-0937, (604) 940-8040