Media Statement: December 15, 2014
Guide outfitter industry prioritized over the needs of BC hunters
For immediate release
Victoria, B.C. –The Government of British Columbia’s recent decision to prioritize the guide outfitting industry over the interests of resident British Columbia hunters is directly contrary to the public interest says Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party.
On December 10th, 2014 the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations released his decision concerning how hunting licenses would be allocated between industry and British Columbians.
Contrary to the established Wildlife Allocation Policy, and the consultation process that developed it, this new decision allocated a massive increase in the proportion of licenses available to industry. This means that BC hunters, many of whom hunt for sustenance, may go without licenses this year.
“What we are seeing is the needs of industry being placed ahead of the needs of British Columbia residents,” said Andrew Weaver. “Last spring we had legislation passed that allowed guide outfitting operations to be owned by a foreign corporations, and now the government is supporting this industry on the backs of British Columbians.”
In February 2013, the government introduced the Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Statutes Amendment Act, 2014, which overhauled guide outfitting in BC. Importantly, it removed the requirement that a guide outfit can only be owned by a citizen of British Columbia, opening up the possibly that guide outfitters are owned and operated by corporations from other countries.
Since the legislation passed, government has maintained a focus on advancing the interests of this industry without mention of how it will affect BC hunters. In his June 2014 mandate letter, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations was directed to “continue to work with BC Guides and Outfitters and other back country operators to ensure continued access and business certainty to Crown land and provide economic and tourism opportunities in rural British Columbia.”
“There are over 100,000 British Columbia residents who hunt each year, a number that has been growing over time,” said Andrew Weaver. “This government needs to halt their current approach to wildlife management and ensure that it is British Columbians who benefit from their policies.”
“I fail to see why they are advancing the interests of this industry ahead of the interests of British Columbians,” said Andrew Weaver.
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 1 250 216 3382