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Morton: 'We won't save wild salmon unless more people get involved'

In the wake of the federal election that gave the Conservatives a majority government, Alexandra Morton told The Tyee that "We're not going to save the wild salmon unless a lot more people get involved."

Morton spent the campaign visiting candidates' offices to see what their views were on wild salmon and fish farms. "Track down the candidates and you'll learn the difference between the parties," she said.

"The Conservatives couldn't say they wanted to save wild salmon. I got the impression that their campaigns were not being run from their offices. They were empty and quiet. The other parties' offices were hives of activity."

Morton told The Tyee: "I couldn't get a sense about the Liberals. Some were fine, but others wanted 'independent' research -- some kind of different science."

The Greens, Morton said, had some "spectacular" candidates. Elizabeth May was "an encyclopedia of information." Other Green candidates, however, weren't serious.

"I wasn't particularly NDP," Morton said, "but so many candidates were fantastic people who have spent their lives in social service."

Morton said she began to wonder why people would vote for Conservatives despite their absence from all-candidates' meeting and face-to-face interaction with voters. "I think some people find the world confusing. They want a father figure to take care of them." But she said she respected the Conservatives for "the honesty of their rudeness."

With the election behind her, Morton told The Tyee she will focus her attention on the Cohen Commission, which will begin dealing in detail with aquaculture in August. "We need to bring all the information the commission needs," she said. "But the report still has to go through Harper, and it could end up on the shelf."

Morton said saving wild salmon "is not a sporting event" to be watched from the sidelines. "Talk to your member of the legislature, and talk to your MP. This is not about jobs; the real jobs come out of small businesses like wilderness tourism." The key point, she added, is simply keeping farmed salmon separate from wild salmon.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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