Letter from Barbara of Bears Matter May 18, 2017
John Horgan, NDP Party leader
Room 201, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
Andrew Weaver, Green Party Leader and MLA
Room 027C, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
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.
Bears Matter Vancouver Island, B.C.
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