Monthly Archives: May 2017

Letter re: Valhalla Wilderness Action ALERT to Halt Govt from Creating Independent Wildlife Agency in BC

Letter from Barbara of Bears Matter  May 18, 2017

John Horgan, NDP Party leader
Room 201, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
Email: oppositionleader@leg.bc.ca
Andrew Weaver, Green Party Leader and MLA
Room 027C, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
Email: andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca
Letter also sent to Ms. Clark, Leader of the BC Liberals
I am sending this urgent letter to your attention so that you may greatly assist the majority of British Columbians and our precious wildlife dependent on good stewardship and governance. As you are aware the former B.C. Government announced support for an ‘independent wildlife agency’ on March 22, 2017. I implore you to put the brakes on this ill-conceived concept at your earliest convenience.
Firstly, five ‘consumptive’ stakeholders have been fully involved upon inception of this scheme and not surprisingly now fully endorse the proposed agency. These stakeholders are; the BCWF, GOABC, Wildlife Stewardship Council, The Wild Sheep Society and the Trappers Association of BC. Where are the ‘non-consumptive’ stakeholders and more shockingly where are the First Nations on this initiative? There has been no prior consultation with the public or the multitude of non-consumptive stakeholders that I know of.
It is stunning to think that a grant of $200,000 of taxpayer dollars may have already been received to begin to produce a mandate for this non-existent agency and then begin finalizing arrangements for a fall launch, including $5million start-up funds.
My great fear is that if this agency goes ahead it would be the beginning of the ‘privatization’ of the management of wildlife in B.C. and there would be compartmentalizing of species for the benefit of trophy hunters, trappers and ethical hunters, not for conservation gains but for exploitation. No matter how well intentioned from the onset and how many stakeholders gather around the table it is a still a road filled with landmines. Our wildlife will be the great losers if the government protection and oversight is
abandoned and given over to groups with various special interests.
As B.C. slowly moves toward a more scientifically sound ecosystem-based approach and giving appropriate value to 99% of the organisms that are not game animals this controversial ‘wildlife agency’ appears on the horizon. It also has appeared at the same time that the B.C. government considers how to finally close down the shameful grizzly trophy hunt and is besieged by calls to end the five-year wolf cull.
Coincidence, I think not!
I truly believe that British Columbians are a more progressive and compassionate society than we were two decades ago. Consumptive users can no longer hold back the majority of us who also call ourselves ‘true conservationists in the woods’ and take this title very seriously.
Governance and stewardship is key to protecting the environment and all that lives there. The ethical, economic and social arguments for prioritizing ‘conservation’ can no longer be ignored by any one group or individual.
I am anxiously optimistic that at this time no funds have been transferred from the government to an outside agency to set up this newly announced wildlife agency. Regardless, this wildlife agency must die at whatever stage it is at and other ways of increasing funding and input to better serve our wildlife’s needs must be realized.
The Government of British Columbia and all opposition parties need to act now and in accordance with the wishes of the majority of B.C. residents who love our wildlife and want it managed scientifically and with care.
Please take immediate action to publicly withdraw your party’s support for the recently proposed independent wildlife agency. Together, we can do better to conserve and preserve our wildlife.
Sincerely,
Barbara Murray
Bears Matter  Vancouver Island, B.C.
3 · 11 hrs

BC Govt Plans a New Independent Wildlife Agency Managed by Guide Outfitters, Trophy Hunters, Trappers- Valhalla Wilderness Society

VWSGrizzlyphoto

Valhalla Wilderness Society

Box 329, New Denver, British Columbia, Canada V0G 1S0
Phone: (250) 358-2333, Fax: (250) 358-2748, E-mail: vws@vws.org, Web: http://www.vws.org
18 May 2017
Call for action
BC Government wants to establish a new independent wildlife agency
managed by hunters, trappers and guide outfitters Valhalla Wilderness Society was appalled when the BC government announced in late March that it intends to establish a new independent wildlife agency (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017FLNR0037-000783 ) “as part of its long-standing commitment to healthy wildlife populations.” The proposed “independent” agency is a thinly disguised attempt by the BC government to privatize wildlife management. Equally concerning and outrageous is that this agency was cooked up with at least the following 5 organizations, the BC Wildlife Federation, the BC Guide Outfitters Association, the BC Trappers Association, the Wild Sheep Society of BC and the Wildlife Stewardship Council with whom the BC government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). These organizations whose members include hunters, trappers and guide outfitters who guide (trophy) hunters fully support the proposed agency whose mandate appears ironically to be “the growth of wildlife in British Columbia.”

At the announcement, Bill Bennett, then MLA East Kootenay and Minister of Mines and Energy,
explained the need for a new agency as follows: “Government is afraid to manage wolves, for example,are afraid to manage grizzly bears in some cases because of the politics of that. Hopefully, an agency that is separate from government can make decisions that are in the best long-term interest of wildlife and just forget about the politics and do what is best for the animals.”

http://www.summit107.com/news/east-kootenay-news/new-independent-wildlife-group-to-takeover-

bc-government-operations/. Bill Bennett has left BC enough of a devastating legacy with the
Mount Polley mine tailing pond failure which continues to pollute Quesnel Lake.
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The past president of the BC Wildlife Federation welcomed the announcement of the proposed agency by stating: “I think it’ll put more positive aspect into managing wildlife and getting away from the precautionary principles and get back to real numbers and managing wildlife the way it should be.” The government press release reports that the proposed agency will be funded with start-up funds of $5 million but “subsequently would be supported by hunting licence revenues of $9 million to $10 million each year.”
Valhalla Wilderness Society calls on all members to express their opposition to this outrageous scheme to not only privatize wildlife management in BC but to place it in the hands of hunters, trappers and guide outfitters. Notwithstanding the poor job the BC government has been doing in terms of “growing wildlife”, wildlife should be managed by government. The above-mentioned special interest groups lack the technical expertise to make wildlife decisions based on scientific evidence and are even unwilling to apply the precautionary principle, which- in the face of climate change -, is needed more than ever. The proposed agency can not be held accountable to the public like an elected government, especially as agency members will no doubt be gagged by mandatory confidentiality agreements. Nor can it be bound by the domestic and international legal obligations, such as the Canada-BC Species at Risk Agreement, that bind the Province directly or indirectly through the federal government`s signing of international legal treaties.
The proposed agency does not represent the majority of British Columbians and the fake “public
consultation” process that the BC government has set aside $200,000 for when the mandate,
stakeholders and funding have already been decided is an utter waste of tax payers’ money. Wild
management should not be reduced to the management of species which hunters, trappers and guide outfitters’ clients like to kill: a broad ecosystem approach is needed to ensure that BC’s “wildlife grows” and their habitat is protected. Last but not least, funding for wildlife management should not be contingent on hunting license revenue or on other funding from special interest groups. Please take the time to email John Horgan, leader of the NDP, Andrew Weaver, leader of the BC Green Party, and Christy Clark, leader of the BC Liberals, demanding that:
 this proposed agency be shelved and the MOU terminated with immediate effect. Wildlife
management must remain the responsibility of the BC government;
 all wildlife management decisions by government must be made on the basis of scientific evidence guided by the precautionary principle and on a broad ecosystem level, which would automatically remove politics from the decision-making process the $200,000 set aside for so-called “public” consultation on this proposed agency whose establishment has been set in motion by special interest groups be used for restoration of mountain caribou habitat;
documents and meeting minutes with the above-mentioned organizations and others involved in
the establishment of this proposed agency be immediately released to the public.
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Contact details:
John Horgan, NDP Party leader
Room 201, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
Tel: 250 387-3655
Email: oppositionleader@leg.bc.ca
Andrew Weaver, Green Party leader and MLA
Room 027C, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
Tel: 250-387-8347
Email: andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca
Christy Clark, BC Liberal leader
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
Tel: 250-387-1715
Email: Christy.clark.mla@leg.bc.ca

Where Greens, NDP & LIberals Stand on Trophy Hunt of Grizzlies May 9th, 2017 BC Election

 

Now we have another study that indicates our pig-headed and intransigent government is on the wrong side of the public’s desires with respect to its peculiar enthusiasm for endorsing trophy hunting of a species that has already been extirpated from much of its range. Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESSSayzuRedCloudStopthetrophyhuntlogo

Summary of Policies by Three Political Parties written by a bear conservationist.

Christy Clark’s BC Liberals:

The BC Liberals have been in power for 15 years and have steadfastly refused to make changes to their policy around bear hunting. They continue to authorize the slaughter of, on average, 300-350 grizzly bears and several thousand black bears per year claiming that it’s “science-based and well-managed”. They have now committed to end bear hunting within the Great Bear Rainforest. While this sounds like a step in the right direction, the important word is within. They have only agreed to work with Coastal First Nations, an umbrella group of 10 coastal first nations, to end the hunting of bears within their traditional territory provided they, along with Raincoast Conservation Foundation, buy out the commercial hunting rights at a cost of millions of dollars. This represents roughly only 1/3 of the area of the Great Bear Rainforest. For the rest of the GBR and BC it will be slaughter as usual. It’s unclear whether they will increase the kill in other areas to make up for the reduction in the GBR grizzly hunt.

Andrew Weaver and the Green Party:
Despite the policy stated in the Green Book (the policy manual of the BC Green Party) which is to “Ban trophy hunting and restrict any hunting of species threatened by trophy hunting. Eliminate sport and trophy hunting of grizzly bears”, Andrew Weaver continues to tout his “pack the meat out ” policy as an end to trophy hunting. The Green Party position is essentially that it’s acceptable to kill 350 grizzly bears each year as long as they pack “edible portions” out, take them to their home and pretend that they’re going to eat it. In a recent Vancouver Sun interview he also said he supports the Liberal position on the grizzly hunt and alluded to the possibility that they might have to kill some of the big males if there are too many of them. He continues to use deceptive language labelling “foreign hunters” as trophy hunters and BC residents as simply “hunters.” In fact, two out of three grizzly bears slaughtered for trophies in BC are killed by BC resident hunters. Provincial mortality statistics show that from 1978 through 2011, BC resident hunters killed 5,900 grizzlies while non-resident hunters killed 4,100.

John Horgan and the NDP:
The NDP took a bold step prior to the dropping of the writ, and said they would ban the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia. However, they left some wiggle room in the language around that, stating they were leaving room for some BC resident hunters to get permits to hunt bears for food. Although that appears to leave the door open for BC residents to continue to slaughter grizzly bears as long as they “pack the meat out”, statements made by John Horgan in interviews since the original press conference indicate he is promising that these will be given out only in exceptional circumstances and may include a provision where they would have to surrender the trophy parts. So despite lots of talk about ending the trophy hunting of bears in BC, by all three parties, the NDP promises, while not definitive, appear to be the most substantial and sincere.

Here are some other really important facts to consider about the bear hunt in BC:

Despite claims by the BC Liberal government that the annual slaughter of 300-350 magnificent beings (who are defenseless against modern access and technology), is science based and well managed,
1: the gov’t population estimates that the hunt is based on are derived from extrapolation of a too-small amount of science and rely heavily on “local expert opinion” mostly from local hunters.
2.managers have continually, repeatedly exceeded their own kill targets, especially of female grizzly bears.

Despite claims that hunters take out only old mature males (most past their prime breeding age):
1. 35% …. more than 1 out of 3 …. bears killed for trophies are FEMALE
2. The median age of bears killed each year in BC is FIVE years old. HALF of the grizzly bears killed in BC are barely of breeding age!

In poll after poll in British Columbia:
- Over 90% of British Columbia residents don’t support trophy hunting of grizzly bears
- In rural areas where hunting is a prominent activity, 70-80% don’t support trophy hunting of grizzly bears.
- More than 75% of people who self-identify as hunters oppose the trophy hunt of grizzly bears

Despite clear, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence that removing top carnivores from an eco-system is an ineffective and often destructive practice, both the BC Liberals and (sadly) the BC Green Party support trophy hunting and culling wolves and bears as legitimate wildlife “management” tools.

The NDP, alone, have aligned their position on this issue around the values of 90% of the population of British Columbia. While I acknowledge that this is only one issue in this election, if it is important to you, I hope this information is helpful to you when you are deciding how to vote on Tuesday.