This past weekend, millions of Canadians cast a fishing line from the banks of rivers, rowed skiffs on lakes and powered vessels a few miles offshore. It was outdoor Canada in all of its magnificence, but few Canadians know that the queen is why we can fish. Even fewer know that our right to fish will be terminated in the Conservative budget bill.

With rare exception, all Canadians can fish in all tidal or navigable waters almost anywhere in Canada. Try that in Scotland and you’ll be prosecuted for trespassing. The minister of fisheries can, of course, close a fishery for conservation reasons, favour aboriginal food fisheries over public fisheries or commercial fisheries over sport fisheries or vice versa. What the minister cannot do is carve a piece off the public fishery for his friends. No minister can refuse a Canadian entrance to a public fishery because they are too old, the wrong race or too poor to have good political connections. The budget bill will change all this…

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