Questions for Candidates Running for Federal Constituencies in the Election
In anticipation of the federal election on October 21, 2019, the BC Wildlife Federation has drafted candidate questions about issues important to our members. The BCWF is a non-partisan, charitable, conservation organization which does not endorse any political party or candidate. We are seeking answers to our questions and policy statements from all the major political parties to identify and communicate alignment with our 43,000 members’ values over the upcoming federal election campaign.
Thanks to the BCWF committees and executives who contributed to the development of the questions. Our members can also ask their local member of parliament candidates about areas of their interest. Please visit this page for full coverage of federal election issues as they relate to the sustainability of fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation.
Watershed and Fisheries
There are a large number of fish species in British Columbia recommended for Species at Risk Act (SARA) listing by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Since 2002, COSEWIC has concluded that 62 marine fish species were “at risk,” but the government has only listed 12 for SARA protection. 33 of 44 (75%) of COSEWIC assessed salmonid populations in BC are found to be at risk of extinction.
Watershed and Fisheries Sustainability Questions
1. There has been an inadequate federal investment in BC’s fish resources, as evidenced by a large number of species recommended for SARA listing. What actions will you take to ensure the conservation of populations and habitat take priority over commercial fishing and habitat degradation?
2. How is the federal government going to implement strategies to ensure the abundance and diversity of salmon and other fish stocks?
3. Bill C-68 Fisheries Act Amendments received Royal Assent on June 2019. Will you support the early implementation of the ecologically significant area provisions in the act?
4. Do you support the rapid and orderly transition from open-net pen fisheries to land-based farm systems for the fin-fish aquaculture industry?
5. What plans do you have for national watershed sustainability initiatives and what level of investment will you support?
The BCWF is calling for
• Funding for fish habitat restoration and enhancement in key watersheds where values are at risk, and proactively provide funding for the protection of watershed functioning and resilience, particularly in light of climate change.
• Acting on the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommendation to list the Interior Fraser Steelhead as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act.
• Funding support for roundtable co-management of fish and wildlife with Indigenous, local, provincial, and federal government involvement.
• Participation in landscape and watershed sustainability planning by setting objectives, aiding in the planning framework, and investing resources (particularly from carbon taxes) towards environmental sustainability and adaptation.
Landscape and Wildlife
British Columbia is seeing a disturbing trend of vanishing wildlife populations. Mountain caribou are in decline across most of the province; some populations are so low they will likely disappear in the next two decades. Moose populations in the central interior have experienced 50 – 70 percent decreases in the last decade. Mule deer and elk are also declining in parts of the province.
Landscape and Wildlife Sustainability Questions
1. Do you support the use of license and permit fees to support programs such as the migratory bird permit that supports the Wildlife Canada restoration program and other authorized programs?
2. There is a need for financial support for implementing SARA measures to protect wildlife that includes roundtables with Indigenous and non-Indigenous community participation. How would you improve the process and financial support for the implementation of caribou recovery in North Eastern British Columbia from an economic, social and environmental perspective?
3. Although the BCWF supports user pay (license, surcharges and fines) supporting conservation programs, we believe the level of funding is inadequate for fish and wildlife sustainability, particularly in the face of climate change. Everyone has an impact on wildlife through their personal carbon use. When will you use carbon tax money to support the ecological functioning and resilience of landscapes and watersheds nationally? Will you make this a priority, working with provincial governments?
4. The government has announced that they will become involved in grizzly bear management. How will the federal government become engaged in the management of grizzly bears in BC? Will you bring resources to adequately inventory grizzly populations, implement measures to protect habitat, and involve both Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders? Will the same consultation techniques be applied that were used during the southern caribou protection decision which provided top-down direction using federal legislation with no resources or support for the implementation of difficult land-use decisions?
5. Environmental Assessment processes must be able to deal with the remediation of legacy sites, such as Mount Polley. How will the federal government force immediate remediation for sites that have been polluted by both operating and defunct companies?
6. A recent decision to create a national park reserve in the South Okanagan incorporated conservation lands which were purchased to protect wildlife habitat. How will the ecological integrity of these sensitive landscapes be protected from the development and commercialism that has occurred in national parks such as Banff? What are the mechanisms to ensure local stakeholder input into the national park reserve?
The BCWF is calling for
• Higher funding allocations from general revenue to fish and wildlife conservation activities.
• Matching migratory bird hunting permit contributions that would go directly back into migratory bird conservation management actions.
• Investment in fish and wildlife enhancement funding programs that would support grassroots conservation organizations delivering on-the-ground projects that benefit fish and wildlife.
• Reducing administrative burden, limitations on eligible expenses (e.g. planning), constraints on stacking of government funding, and offer more longer-term commitments for existing and new federal fish and wildlife funding programs.
• Development of standards and protocols for measuring and evaluating the value of natural capital assets and the impact of projects to ensure compensation and offset programs (e.g. Environmental Damages Fund) are appropriately assessing costs to industry.
• Establishment of an initiative that would fully assess models for conservation financing that could be applied in Canada. This task could be undertaken by a newly established Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel.
• Investment in promotion of fishing, hunting, and trapping as important sustainable development activities that also contribute to financing conservation activities.
Arbitrary classification and general firearms bans are becoming increasingly common around the world based on emotional, social responses to the appearance or perception of a firearm. Prohibitions on firearms should only be implemented through a consistent, transparent, and evidence-based classification process that fully consults firearms users. The BCWF Firearms and Recreational Sports Shooting Committees have provided the following questions for federal MP candidates and parties regarding the Firearms Act.
1. Bill C-71, an Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, received Royal Assent on June 2019. Do you support repealing Bill C-71? Yes / No
Please address the following:
2. If a person has passed all the RCMP required background checks do you agree they should be allowed to own and use handguns only at appropriate facilities?
3. If a person has passed all the RCMP required background checks do you agree they should be allowed to own and use all types of semi-automatic rifles for hunting and or target shooting at approved gun ranges?
4. Why is it necessary to have firearms licensees undergo background checks every five years when the Canadian Police Information Centre computers check you every day?
5. Why is it necessary to revert to the paper issuance of permits to take restricted firearms to gun shows, gunsmiths, and the border if you are allowed to take your restricted firearms to All Approved Shooting Ranges at any time?
The BCWF is calling for
• Repeal of Bill C-71
• Commitment to take a strong position and action on organized crime, gangs, other illegal firearms activities and the associated root causes of firearms-related crime
• No implementation of any general bans on firearms.
Stay tuned for updates regarding the 2019 Federal Election
The federal election is on October 21, 2019.