Using post-truth era consultative techniques the B.C. government has now decided to ban grizzly bear hunting to all but First Nations hunters. Government had said it was only going to ban the “trophy hunting of grizzly bears”, but has now changed its mind, and is banning grizzly bear hunting.
The government’s change of heart is rationalized based on feedback from its consultative process where it asked what should be done with the “grizzly bear parts.”
“This is the most disingenuous approach to forming public policy I have ever seen during my career inside and outside government,” said BC Wildlife Federation President Harvey Andrusak. “Government was very clear with the BCWF, that this consultative process was solely about what to do with grizzly “trophy parts”, and that discussion about the hunt itself was not the issue. The government deceived us.”
This approach raises warning flags about government’s ability to act in good-faith. The government set the goal posts, and chose not to consult on grizzly bear hunting, and then changed its mind after consultation. This approach is undemocratic and contrary to open and transparent process.
With regards to grizzly bear hunting the BCWF expects closing the hunt will result in increased human-bear confrontations and attacks in both the front and backcountry. The taxpayer will be responsible to manage bears over the long-run which will reduce the social value of grizzly bears.
The BCWF’s expects government to manage wildlife based on science, and that consultation is open and transparent. In this case none of the expectations have been met; this approach does not bode well for science in the future and raises the question of why the government has biologists on staff if science is no longer the basis for managing wildlife or fish? The Auditor General’s report on grizzly bears pointed out that their status was impacted far more by habitat loss than from any effect of hunting. While those opposed to grizzly bear hunting may rejoice it is a sad day when emotions trump science. Many BCWF members feel betrayed.