Illustration for NDP fundraising pitch rolled out on social media after policy change was announced. (Facebook)

Grizzly hunt ban aims at cities

John Horgan’s NDP rushes announcement to raise money

Within hours of announcing their ill-considered “ban” on grizzly bear trophy hunting, the B.C. NDP had a party fundraising pitch out on social media. Taxpayer-funded government ads soon followed.

Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson was marched out to make the announcement, repeating a thin list of talking points dictated from Premier John Horgan’s office. For this, Donaldson was diverted from the raging forest fires he has faced since assuming responsibility for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations a month ago.

Donaldson insisted that B.C.’s grizzly hunt is not used as a wildlife management tool. It’s not? So why was the grizzly bear quota increased last year? To sell a few more tags and guided safaris to vacationing NHL hockey players, as some in the Vancouver media seem to believe?

The quota was increased because the population is growing, and a proliferation of grizzlies has significant effects on other animals, and on people. Seeing grizzly sows with triplets is a good indicator, as is a B.C. study done last year by wildlife biologists at the University of Alberta and the University of Minnesota.

Donaldson insisted the lottery grizzly hunt is not used to manage the population, and that the harvest level is based on what is sustainable. I guess he can’t see the contradiction there. He avoided admitting that this fall’s hunt is going ahead and compensation will have to be paid for guide-outfitter territories so the NDP government won’t get sued.

Meat hunting for grizzlies will still be allowed, but the hide, head and paws must be left behind. Demand for grizzly meat has dropped sharply since the Stone Age wrapped up.

Professional protesters trumpeted another victory. Urban folks swooned. “This makes me feel good,” said one, precisely capturing the true intent of this gesture. Some rural people might not feel so good, not to mention the Conservation Officers faced with shooting “problem bears” forced down to populated valley bottoms in search of survival.

Donaldson’s northern neighbour, Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad, was aboriginal relations minister in the last government. Aboriginal leaders have told him rising populations are a problem in some remote regions.

“We’ve interfered with nature,” Rustad said. “We’ve built cities, we’ve built roads, we have resource development. So we need to be able to manage species based on science. They do this even with the black rhino in Africa and other species around the world.”

Then there are the declining moose populations in the B.C. Interior, subject to a study ongoing for years. Moose, not the 200-odd grizzlies taken in an average year, are the staple of B.C.’s resident and guided hunting. Grizzlies and other predators target moose calves in spring.

“You’ve got farmers, ranchers in the Cariboo that have lost livelihood because of major fires,” Rustad said. “A number of these people also guide-outfit or are involved in hunting.”

Donaldson stressed a ban on all grizzly hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest, something that was essentially done already in conjunction with the American environmentalists who front for most of the aboriginal communities there.

That does not include the Nisga’a Nation, which operates its own guide-outfitter business nearby, with spring and fall hunts for mountain goat, black bears and grizzlies. In fact all aboriginal people are exempt from provincial wildlife regulations.

This winter the NDP government will face a decision to continue the wolf kill that is attempting to salvage remnant caribou herds in the Kootenay and Peace regions. Will that also be cancelled to make urban voters feel good?

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

Chilliwack trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

Barry Neufeld, a representative for the BCSTA, published the comments on his Facebook page

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

VIDEO: Another car torched in Langley after Surrey shooting

A Jeep was found engulfed in flames in Willoughby Monday morning, after two men were shot in Surrey.

Mother bear attacks Mission woman, conservation officer

Animal charged, knocked down and bit conservation officer before being pushed off and shot

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by Pitt Meadows councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

WATCH: Speedskaters race at Langley Sportsplex

The first big local meeting of the season drew 105 skaters.

Ferries re-routed due to fluid spill at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

At least one sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point was redirected to Departure Bay

Good spirit in youth soccer

Aldergrove Youth and Langley United U11 Girls

ABC wins defensive juggernaut to improve to .500 on the season

Aldergrove Basketball Club’s Junior Boys won a defensive gem 35-31 against Abbotsford McGeez

Chilliwack homeless camp dismantled on Monday

Mostly co-operative group emerged from the woods with possessions and dispersed

Aldergrove Kodiaks finally take a win

PJHL action sees Kodiaks down Surrey Knights 5-3

B.C. couple hope boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus of Victoria to have drone collect environmental data en route

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

Most Read