In the following I publish the entire unedited press release. If you’re a resident of British Columbia please take action and voice your opinion about this issue, contact your local political representatives, the government of BC and the Wildlife Agency of British Columbia. If you're a member of a hunter organization please support and lobby your orgaization in the work they do on behalf of the resident hunters of British Columbia. This not the time to stand by watching with our arms crossed and shrugging our shoulders.
Resident Hunter’s Association of BC
(For Immediate Release)
“B.C.’s Resident Hunters Under Attack Once Again”
Smithers, British Columbia - January 22, 2007
The Resident Hunter’s Association of BC (RHABC) is calling on the Liberal government to immediately put a moratorium on the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) bureaucratic plans to adopt a new and radical policy that will allocate more of the province’s wildlife to non-resident commercial interests.
A longstanding Allocation Policy and Procedure (APP) document, which sets out the procedures for managing and allocating hunting opportunities in the province of British Columbia, is being shelved in favour of a new one that abandons BC resident’s priority interests. The policy process was developed in secrecy, with only select interests invited, and the 99% of resident hunters excluded are very unhappy with how it has been handled.
Lobbying by the RHABC had previously delayed the signing off of the new Policy, which was originally scheduled for late January 2006. “BC resident hunter priority in allocation is a fundamental issue that must not be sacrificed” demanded Chairman Bill Zemenchik of Smithers, BC “and the government is heeding flawed advice if it really thinks this rewrite will benefit the province and its citizens, either socially or economically”. But now, with no real changes to the flaws so obvious in the document, the rewritten policy has been signed off with no thought to the consequences for B.C. residents.
The existing APP document has been in place for decades and it entrenches BC resident priority, which means that this province’s hunters should always maintain a minimum 70% to 80% share of the licensed allocation and harvest of wildlife species. Under the new document, resident priority is gone and non-resident hunters are favoured by means of a complex methodology that transfers wildlife quota to the commercial sector based on the value of guided hunts to the industry. Zemenchik adds “The last draft of the document which resident hunters saw gave the non-resident hunters from the U.S. and Europe a minimum of 40% to 45% of the allocation of most species in some regions of BC. This non-resident minimum share will only increase due to the continued over-regulation of the average citizen trying to harvest wild game for their families ”.
The fundamental issue of BC resident priority aside there are other serious factors that, on their own, should require the new policy to be abandoned. The RHABC is presently reviewing two pertinent sections of the provincial Wildlife Act which may give rise to a Charter and/or Human Rights challenge to the recently signed-off APP in view of it being discriminatory towards resident hunters in general; and more specifically towards disabled hunters, senior hunters and this province’s youth ”.
The RHABC recommends that our elected MLA’s intervene once again, ensuring that the existing APP and the clearly stated concept of BC resident priority are implemented and upheld by the Ministry for the future generations of hunters to come. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the original, longstanding policy ” reaffirms Chairman Zemenchik “it is just that the public servants refuse to follow the policy as laid out”.
The RHABC also strongly urges all residents, hunters or not, to call your local MLA and protest the implementation of this unpublished new allocation policy. We should refuse selling off our natural resources to non-residents at the cost of B.C. resident priority.
Feel free to copy this message and email it to as many friends as you can. Let your friends know what the government of B.C. is up to behind the backs of the resident hunters. Thanks