PARTY AND CANDIDATE QUESTIONS FOR 2017 PROVINCIAL ELECTION
1. 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?
BC’s New Democrats believe its past time to increase protections for wildlife in our province. That’s why we introduced a Private Members Bill that would ensure government provides stable funding and planning for wildlife and their habitat, all with full collaboration from the various user groups – legislation supported by hunters and wildlife viewing companies
2. 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?
Habitat degradation and human land use are the primary threats to the long term survival of many species in our province. Under-funding of ministries and cuts to on-the-ground conservation staff who monitor what happens on Crown lands have led to this decline.
A New Democrat government will set objectives for the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and for the management of fish and wildlife resources in the province so as to guarantee the continued viability of these resources. We will ensure BC’s wildlife and habitat are considered a priority when planning for land and water use activities in this Province. We’ll establish a Wildlife Management Roundtable to provide comment and advice on the objectives set by the government for habitat and management, as well as advice on how to increase the social value of British Columbia’s natural resources.
Looking after our natural environment, respecting the outdoor traditions of this province and growing the economy can happen if we choose to make the right decisions.
3. 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?
Because habitat degradation and human land use are the primary threat to the long term survival of the mountain caribou, we are now, unfortunately left to rely on reducing the wolf population to ultimately solve the problem of dwindling mountain caribou herds.
The act of killing one species to save another raises a number of legitimate and justifiable concerns.
4. 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?
We can carry on with the current path or we can seize opportunities together. The Round Table we have proposed will have all interested parties at the table. New Democrats believe we can grow together, prosper together and build a better province together.
5. Public access to public resources such as fish, wildlife, public roads, and campsites is a growing issue in British Columbia. For example, in 2015, government decided to award as much as 40 per cent of the wildlife allocation to guide-outfitters. Is public access to public resources, such as fishing, hunting, camping and hiking important to you? How will you deal with these issues?
This province has a proud outdoor heritage that includes hunting and fishing. We also have a future that includes welcoming the world to enjoy our spectacular scenery and wildlife, creating jobs for British Columbians and a tourism industry that is second to none. Our heritage and our future can thrive together if our government makes the right choices. We were also there supporting resident hunters when the government decided to award a greater allocation to foreign hunters as opposed to British Columbians. Allocation needs to be based on science, with clear objectives ensuring a fair sharing of our wildlife with resident hunters and guide-outfitters with the wildlife itself being the priority.
If we want to protect species and ensure that generations after us can enjoy the natural beauty of our province, we have to do better to properly manage our parks and ecological reserves. We need to not only protect our parks, but we need to protect the wildlife that people come to see in our parks. Finding an appropriate balance amongst all those interested in enjoying and benefiting from our resources is a challenge, but we know it can be done. BC’s New Democrats canbuild a bigger and stronger destination tourism industry in this province while still supporting hunters who are out there putting food in their freezers.
The BC NDP is committed to protecting our natural environment and ensuring that British Columbians have access to it.
The BCWF has edited responses to keep the focus on party platforms and commitments while maintaining our non-partisan approach to conserving fish, wildlife and habitat.