2017 Provincial Election
In preparation for the next provincial general election on May 9, 2017, the BC Wildlife Federation is asking major provincial political parties and individual candidates to answer 5 questions about issues facing fish, wildlife and their habitats. Please find the questions following.
Our mission is to protect, enhance and promote the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. We appreciate the opportunity to open an official dialogue with your party about the best policies and practices the Province can implement to conserve and sustain our precious natural resources.
BACKGROUND ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
British Columbia is fortunate to have a rich diversity of fish and wildlife resources and the provincial motto since 1895 is Splendor Sine Occasu (Splendour without Diminishment),but it is disappearing:
- Over 85% of wetlands in the Lower Mainland and the South Okanagan have been lost. Wetlands provide critical habitat for amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and other wildlife and serve as the “canary in the coalmine” for landscape and watershed sustainability.
- Mountain caribou are in decline across most of the province; some populations are so low they will likely disappear in the next two decades.
- Chilko and Thompson river steelhead, iconic fish for British Columbia face a total fishing closures and serious habitat threats as do other salmon species.
- Moose populations in the central interior have experienced 50-70 per cent declines in the last decade.
- Mule deer and elk populations are also declining in parts of the province.
The Federation is concerned that we are failing to adequately protect our province’s natural resources. There are 85 electoral districts in B.C. and, while each district has its own challenges, we need to work collaboratively to ensure the increasing human footprint on our province does not diminish our natural capital. The following questions address the policy challenges we face and the initiatives we need to implement in order to maintain diversity of species over the long-term locally and provincially.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?