I have stood and spoke on behalf of wild salmon in the Legislature dozens of times in 2018. This was possibly the last time I would be able to advocate for them this year.
In my final statement of this year I highlight the stories about our relatives the wild salmon, the work at the Howard English Hatchery and my hope for the work on wild salmon in 2019.
Many times throughout this year I stood in this House and spoke about the plight of our relatives, the SĆÁÁNEW̱— the salmon. I told the story of their creation through the words of my uncle, STOLȻEȽ. They were a good people, a hard-working people that didn’t have an enemy anywhere. They had no enemies, he said. They worked well with everyone, and XÁLS appeared to them and said: “The way you are living is good. You have no enemies, and you work hard, so I’m going to keep you that way.”
He changed them into the SĆÁÁNEW̱, the fishes and the salmon. He sent them out to sea, and they all worked together. He sent them out to sea as families. They go out to sea as a family, and they return back home as a family, he said.
Howard English Hatchery
Last month I visited the Howard English Hatchery at Goldstream. Goldstream was an important place for the Saanich because it was a place that supplied a good run of fall chum. My father recently began volunteering with the group up there. On the day that we visited, they were excited because there were fish in the river. We were more successful in getting broodstock today than we were the entire season last year, one of the gentlemen told me.
All of my uncle’s stories tell of a responsibility that we have for each other and for everything. “You look after them and they will look after you,” he says.
This is likely the last time in 2018 that I will get to stand in this House and talk about SĆÁÁNEW̱. As you all know very well, I have raised the plight faced by our salmon relatives dozens of times this year. Some steps have been taken to improve their well-being, and I am so grateful for that. But there is so much, so much more that we can do.
As we head into 2019, I’m expecting this House to start demonstrating real leadership in this area. My expectations are high because we have so much to lose. There is no more time for excuses, deflections or distractions, no more time for politics or games playing. There is only time for action. They are our relatives, and we have a duty to them.