News release

Province Playing Aggressive Role

The province of Nova Scotia has and will continue to play an aggressive role in ensuring commercial fishermen and others in the St. Margaret's Bay area receive the support and assistance they need dealing with the aftermath of the crash of Swissair Flight 111. Part of the fishery in that area has been shut-down since the crash.

A Halifax open-line radio show spent two hours Friday morning deriding the provincial government for an alleged failure to come to the aid of fishermen in the area.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Premier Russell MacLellan.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture made representations to the federal government that resulted in the fishing exclusion zone being reduced, so more fishermen could go back to work. The department is also brokering and facilitating discussions with Swissair, and involving federal officials, concerning both long-term compensation and more immediate assistance for fishermen in need. The Department of Community Services is ready to provide programs and services should anyone require emergency relief.

In addition, the province initiated and is spearheading the effort to ensure residents of the area have the emotional support they require in dealing with the tragedy.

Provincial officials have held discussions with many fishermen in the area, and the overwhelming response was that they (the fishermen) did not want to make compensation an issue this soon after the crash.

The province will not be offering compensation, because compensation is a legal issue and legal responsibility will rest elsewhere.

NOTE: The following is intended for use by broadcast media.

The provincial government says it is doing all it can to help fishermen in the St. Margaret's Bay-area get back on their feet following the crash of Swissair Flight 111.

Part of the fishery in that area has been shut-down since the crash more than two weeks ago.

On Friday morning, a Halifax open-line radio show spent two hours blaming the government for not coming to the aid of fishermen in the area.

Premier Russell MacLellan was quoted as saying, "Nothing could be further from the truth."

He said the province, Swissair and federal officials, are currently discussing issues such as long-term compensation and immediate assistance for fishermen in need.

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Contact:

Jim Vibert,
Communications Nova Scotia, 902-424-4886 E-mail:
ngr                   Sept. 18, 1998               4:05 p.m.