“Ms. Morton’s proposed affidavit contains untested hearsay evidence, contains improper opinion evidence under the guise of being factual evidence” on BC fish farms – Federal Court of Canada
By Fabian Dawson
The Federal Court of Canada has rejected attempts by anti-fish farm activist, Alexandra Morton, to influence its pending decision on the future of salmon farms in BC’s Discovery Islands.
In a scathing ruling that challenges the on-going media adulation of her new book, Judge Mandy Aylen said that “Morton’s proposed affidavit contains untested hearsay evidence, contains improper opinion evidence under the guise of being factual evidence.”
The case management judge agreed with the fish farmers, who are challenging Ottawa’s decision to remove them from the Discovery Islands, that Morton’s proposed affidavit “constitutes an attack on the science presented by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and goes far beyond providing general background information” to assist the court.
“In essence the court is reminding Canadians that her claims are not to be believed,” said a lawyer commenting on the case.
Judge Aylen’s rebuff comes in the wake of Morton’s new book which contains many unproven claims, camouflaged as factual evidence, about salmon farming in BC, .
None of the media that reviewed the book has challenged Morton’s claims, opting to put her on a pedestal with some comparing her to the world’s leading primatologist, Dr. Jane Goodall.
Those that have challenged her claims, including SeaWestNews, have come under attack by her digital disciples.
The Federal Court of Canada, after rejecting Morton’s bid to supply an affidavit, is expected to rule by April 5th on an injunction application by the fish farmers to transfer baby salmon into their Discovery Islands ocean pens.
It is part of a judicial review sought by Mowi Canada West, Cermaq Canada and Grieg Seafood BC.
SeaWestNews reported on March 20 that the Federal Court has also refused to hear from five First Nations whose traditional territories are at the heart of the controversial decision by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out salmon farms in BC’s Discovery Islands.
Instead, the court is allowing a group of anti-fish farm activists, whose claims have been discredited by regional, national and international peer reviewed scientific studies, to intervene in the case.
The application for a judicial review and an injunction were made by the fish farmers, who have operated 19 farms in the Discovery Islands for the last 35 years with minimal impact on wild stocks, according to nine-peer reviewed scientific studies by the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS).
For the nine risk assessments, the sources included both international and Canadian experts – including First Nations, ENGOs, academic and aquaculture industry experts – from a wide variety of disciplines. The conclusions were generated through the CSAS peer-review process and represented the consensus of the scientific advice of the participants.
But Morton, and her allies, have denounced the studies and embraced the central conspiracy theory that any science running counter to their claims that ocean-based fish farms endanger wild stocks, should not be believed because it is bought and paid for by the aquaculture industry.
Minister Jordan, in making her sudden pre-Christmas decision that will have devastating impacts for North Vancouver Island resulting in about 1,500 job losses, admitted that science took a back seat to social licence.
In addition to ignoring the science, Minister Jordan also rebuffed the recommendations by her deputy minister for a more coordinated approach to the planned phase out within 18 months.
Minister Jordan said her decision, including the ban on any transfer of baby fish to the Discovery Islands pens during the phase out period, was made after consultation with the seven Discovery Islands First Nations.