April 25, 2017
With the Provincial election coming soon the BCWF has been hosting a series of “Town Hall Meetings” all over BC. The purpose of these meetings is to bring some facts about the status of our fish and wildlife resources to the attention of our members and to offer questions to ask candidates for election. Over the past fifteen years the funding for fish and wildlife resource management has remained flat while the overall Provincial budget has increased dramatically overall. “We need more funding, more science and more social support” was the main message.
In the Times Colonist, on April 26, columnist Jack Knox wrote his insights from the BCWF Town Hall Meeting in Victoria. “Wildlife ‘train wreck’ goes largely unnoticed” was his heading. The reason for this, Knox believes, is that with 48 of BC’s 87 electoral districts in the lower mainland and Fraser Valley the public will not hear about conservation issues. The election will be won on issues like housing prices, bridge tolls, the homeless and not on action around vanishing woodland caribou.
Several of us PQ club members attended the Town Hall meeting hosted at the Nanaimo club facility. It was well attended and the NDP and Green party candidates did a brief presentation. But the meeting was all about the abysmal state of fish and wildlife populations throughout the province. Staple game species like moose are down 50 – 70% in BC’s interior. The world famous Thompson River steelhead are down to 430 fish. Mule deer and elk in the interior are also in trouble. So far this year two or three steelhead have been found in the Gold River. All of this is because fish and wildlife resources are not a priority of our Provincial Government. Managing bag limits and allowable catches amount to “management to zero.” Reprinted here are the five questions the BCWF suggests we might want to ask our future MLAs.
PARTY AND CANDIDATE QUESTIONS FOR 2017 PROVINCIAL ELECTION
- In terms of fish, wildlife and habitat, British Columbia is one of the most diverse jurisdictions in North America. At the same time, B.C. is one of the most under-funded jurisdictions in North America and has no dedicated funding model. Would you support increased funding for fish, wildlife and habitat (i.e. watershed, landscape) management? Yes/No/How?
- Fish, wildlife and habitat management in B.C. are currently objectiveless. Many fish and wildlife populations are in decline, and some are at record lows. Cumulative effects in parts of British Columbia from unsustainable resource extraction, invasive species, over-allocation of water resources, and road densities have left our landscape “in the red”. Do you support legislated objectives for habitat, fish and wildlife populations? Yes/No/Why? How would you achieve them?
- Many mountain caribou populations are at a record low and moose populations are in significant decline in parts of B.C. Science has shown anthropogenic change as the leading cause, as wolf predation has become a major source of mortality. Do you support predator management as a part of sustainable science-based wildlife management?
- First Nations negotiations in B.C. are ongoing. These negotiations are Government to Government with no public transparency or consultation. This approach is divisive and is creating significant uncertainty and externalities due to a lack of public involvement. Do you believe the public should be involved or consulted, related to negotiations? Yes/No/Why/How?
- Public access to public resources such as fish, wildlife, public roads, and campsites is a growing issue in British Columbia. Is public access to public resources, such as fishing, hunting, camping and hiking important to you? How will you deal with these issues?
Rod Wiebe, Past President PQF&G 1992 – 1998