Fisheries minister dives into Sask. fish fray
The federal minister of fisheries and oceans says he's not happy about a dispute between his officials and Saskatchewan's Craven Country Jamboree over fish and a flooded campground.
Now, a Saskatchewan MP says pumps that were shut down on Monday will be allowed to start up again.
Earlier this week, festival organizers were told that if they wanted to continue pumping water out of the flooded campground at Craven, about 33 kilometres northwest of Regina, they would have to save the fish first.
The jamboree decided to shut down the pumps.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield responded from Fredericton, N.B., Wednesday with a news release that was critical of the way department officials handled the case.
"I am very concerned about the number of delays and challenges that have come to light," he said in the release.
He said he has instructed senior department officials to report on what actions were taken over recent weeks.
He also said his office has been in touch with jamboree organizers to get their side of the story.
"For such an important economic and cultural event to be affected in this way is contrary to the principles this government stands for," Ashfield said in the release.
He also said the "unfortunate situation" reinforces his resolve to make changes to rules about protecting fish habitat.
Ashfield refused a CBC News request to be interviewed about his comments.
People in his office told CBC Ashfield's remarks followed calls from Saskatchewan MPs. Every year, thousands of campers flock to the festival, which is one of the province's biggest tourism draws.
This year, heavy spring melt combined with torrential rains put the sprawling campground under water.
With main stage shows at the jamboree beginning July 15, organizers were scrambling to get the campground water pumped out in time.
Now, the jamboree has moved on to plan B: having campers set up at an alternative site. It's set to announced a new camping venue Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre MP Tom Lukiwski told CBC he's been told by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that jamboree organizers are now free to pump out the water if they want to.