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Liberal MP Ken McDonald's job as chair of Commons fish committee should be safe (but probably not)

if past Liberal practice is anything to go by, MP Ken McDonald's job as chair of the House of Commons fisheries committee is in jeopardy following his decision to break ranks with his party and support a Conservative motion to exempt home-heating fuel from federal carbon tax.

Former MP Scott Simms lost his job as chair of the Commons fisheries committee in 2018 when he also broke with the Liberal party line — voting with the Conservatives on a motion over a change to the summer jobs program.

The Trudeau government required organizations seeking federal funding through the Canada Summer Jobs program to attest to their respect for sexual and reproductive rights — including abortion — as well as other human rights.

At the time, Simms said he knew he would face consequences when he voted for a Conservative motion urging the Liberal government to allow groups engaged in "non-political, non-activist work" to access the federal jobs grant, even if they didn't express respect for abortion rights.

McDonald also voted for a Conservative motion, and will likely pay a political price.

Having been one, I can tell you that Members of Parliament often must decide whether a particular issue will be a hill for them to die on.

McDonald took a stand to give people a break on the cost of heating their homes.

I can think of no more honourable hill, and the fact he may die on it is ridiculous.

McDonald has been an incredibly effective chair of the Commons fisheries committee, which is currently studying DFO science.

He also had a huge hand in DFO's decision to increase the inshore fishing vessel length in this province to 49'11 from 39'11. The change comes into effect next spring.

McDonald should not be punished for representing his riding in Ottawa (rather than the other way around).

The commercial fisheries will suffer for it.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization serving as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. You can read more about SEA-NL, and join us here.

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