Thank you for writing me and my colleagues Norm Macdonald, MLA Columbia River-Revelstoke and Michelle Mungall, MLA Nelson Creston on this important issue. We feel strongly that our first priority for harvest allocation must be with British Columbians. Local hunters must have access to this resource. We also have to understand the need to ensure that wildlife have access to the habitat they need to thrive. I know that local hunters have this knowledge and commitment, and work hard with local groups to support and improve wildlife habitat.
Below I have attached the NDP Official Opposition position on the Harvest Allocation Policy. I believe that it will answer many of your concerns and help you understand that the Opposition caucus will be working for changes. All three Kootenay MLA’s have been contacted by many local hunters with their concerns. I know the BCWF is holding community meetings across the province and they are also distributing a petition to be presented in the Legislature. These both seem like good ideas. If you wish to send any letters for Minister Thomson through our offices we can make sure that the letters are delivered to the Minister.
Recent changes to hunting allocation policy were supposed to resolve a number of key issues facing hunters in British Columbia. Unfortunately the do exactly the opposite, and B.C. hunters will suffer for it.
First, every hunter knows that decisions about hunting allocation policy must start with good science. But over the past decade, the BC Liberals’ repeated budget cuts have curtailed much-needed, on-the-ground research and forced wildlife managers to make important decisions in the dark. While the new allocation policy could increase the harvest rate, it will not increase the resources needed to make informed management decisions.
Second, BC hunters engaged with government in what they thought was a genuine discussion about how best to improve hunting opportunities for resident hunters, guide outfitters and their clients. Instead, the BC Liberals largely ignored the input provided by thousands of rank-and-file hunters and made their own decisions with little or no explanation of the reasons or consequences.
New Democrats believe that BC’s resources should be for the use and benefit of British Columbians first, understanding that the guide outfitters sector must have a place in the conversation. We believe it is wrong to hand over a larger allocation of hunting licences to foreign hunters while reducing hunting opportunities for British Columbians.
We also recognize that resident hunters make a significant contribution to BC’s rural economy and way of life. For instance, many businesses make a living by supporting outdoor recreation and hunting, and resident hunters feed their families with BC game and often contribute to wildlife conservation activities.
We believe that hunters must be part of the solution and cannot be dismissed because key BC Liberal cabinet ministers think they are politically ineffective.
We’re eager to meet with stakeholders to come to a practical solution to the mess created for political purposes by the Liberal government.
On a personal note, I have many family members who hunt regularly and I am supportive of local resident hunters. We have also worked very closely with resident hunters’ associations and the BCWF to ensure that local hunters have the opportunity to hunt. Hunting for food is an important part of our quality of life as rural residents.
Thank you again for writing and if you have any further questions or concerns please let me know.
Katrine Conroy, MLA Kootenay West
Norm Macdonald, MLA Columbia River- Revelstoke
Michelle Mungall, MLA Nelson Creston
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: January 12, 2015 11:15 AM
To: Mungall.MLA, Michelle; Conroy.MLA, Katrine; Macdonald.MLA, Norm
Cc: Gordie Grunerud
Subject: RE: Wildlife Allocation in BC Open Letter to WK MLAs
My name is Gordie Grunerud and I am president of the West Kootenay Outdoorsmen an umbrella group which represents 9 Rod and Gun clubs with approximately 2000 members in the West Kootenay.
As resident hunters we are very concerned with the latest announcement by the Liberal government to re allocate the harvest where guides would be given up to 40% of the harvest depending on species.
In 2007 resident hunters, represented by the BCWF, were involved in negotiating an allocation split with Government and the commercial guide industry. An agreement was reached by all parties, with a five year grace period implemented to allow Guides to adjust their business model to the negotiated figures. Based on back door lobbing by the guide industry, it appears that this agreement is no longer being honoured and in fact the split as been increased significantly in the guides interest, who cater to largely non residents.
With approximately 210 guides in the province and 102,000 resident hunters, who hunt to feed their families, we support the principle that resident hunters are a higher priority than non residents.
We support a guide outfitter industry but not at the expense of the resident hunter. In most jurisdictions of North America, an allocation of 5% -10% is standard.
We believe and have lobbied for a resident first policy where the resource should be given to resident hunters .
We are aware of the Liberal position based on this policy and have been recently contacted on a number of occasions by Dan Brooks of the Conservative Party who definitely does not agree with the proposed Wildlife Allocation as it stands.
On behalf of the West Kootenay Outdoorsmen we are asking if the MLAs for the West Kootenay support the resident hunters of BC.
Yours in conservation