Letters to the Editor: March 29

Dynamiters appreciation; Wildlife Management Agency; A serious mistake

Dynamiters Appreciation

Thanks to the Kimberley Dynamiters and their organization for a great year! With such a young team and with losing most of the veterans, we were skeptical about the 2016-2017 season. Through grit determination and hard work you provided the fans with an exceptional year and finished second in your division. Then came the Playoffs where you beat Fernie, Creston, and gave Beaver Valley a great run right until the last game.

We appreciate the outstanding entertainment and those who missed the games are the losers. Hold your heads up high, enjoy your time off, and we will be back again next year with great expectations.

An Appreciative Nitro Fan

Howard West

Wildlife Management Agency

The province’s announcement of a new wildlife management agency raises more questions than it answers. Bill Bennett’s interpretation, reported in the press recently, threatens to take environmental management out of the hands of wildlife biologists and the public. Wildlife has strong intrinsic value to British Columbians and shouldn’t be managed for the benefit of any particular group.

People are getting mixed messages. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Steve Thomson and opposition critic Katrina Conroy are talking about enhancing wildlife through a new funding agency, while MLA Bill Bennett has recommended handing wildlife management decisions, including the grizzly hunt and wolf culls, over to hunters to avoid “politics”. Which is it? Additional funding for research and habitat enhancement is welcome, but taking control of wildlife management away from scientists and putting it in the hands of a select group of hunters is definitely not.

When we manage wildlife populations, we impact entire ecosystems and all living things. An ecosystem-based approach to land use is the only way to ensure healthy wildlife populations in the long term. Provincial wildlife staff have been starved of funding and disempowered by the province’s “professional reliance model” that has granted decision making power to industry. Government oversight of forests and rangelands has already been severely curtailed. Is this wildlife agency aimed at enhancing wildlife? Or is it an attempt to remove management responsibility from government, making it ever more difficult for the public to hold government responsible?

Government’s announcement of a new wildlife agency has been extremely short on details. What is the mandate—research and enhancement or taking over government’s decision making role? Who will be represented? It is time for politicians of all parties to clarify their intentions before the provincial election. British Columbians deserve to know what’s behind the proposed the proposed wildlife agency and how they can be involved.

John Bergenske

Conservation Director, Wildsight

A Serious Mistake

BC is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. It provides about 145,000 direct and indirect jobs – B.C. Lumber Trade Council.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition is alleging Canadian lumber is being sold  below market prices in the United States. It has been reported that in the latest round of the long-running softwood lumber dispute, the US coalition asked the government to protect American mills by imposing new duties on Canadian lumber.

This never-ending quarrel is based on an unfounded, fabricated claim that BC and Canadian governments subsidize Canadian companies. For decades the US has falsely challenged and for decades Canada has successfully rebuffed the challenges in international courts.

The foundation for success in protecting Canadians is that there are no subsidies.

It is therefore surprising that Kootenay Columbia NDP MP Wayne Stetski and the 13 other New Democrat BC MPs are now calling for federal loan guarantees for softwood lumber producers.

“Will the federal government subsidize BC mills in the form of low cost loans or no cost loans so they can keep operating until they find new markets if they’re no longer competitive going into the states?” Stetski asked.

Doesn’t he realize his ill-founded request supplies ammunition to our US adversaries? Stetski’s advice that the government should subsidize Canadian operations will be used against Canadian interests, even if the NDP is ignorant of the facts,

I suggest the Kootenay Columbia MP might want to seek information about this issue before commenting again. There are 145,000 jobs at stake.

Jim Abbott

Wasa BC