The outcome of the next provincial election is in your hands

By Jesse Zeman 

BCWF Executive Director  

While the next provincial election is more than a year away, we are already crafting a strategy to ensure that our concerns and priorities are front and centre. The B.C. Wildlife Federation is 41,000-strong. In addition, B.C. is home to more than 100,000 licensed hunters, 300,000 licensed freshwater anglers, and 275,000 licensed saltwater anglers. 

Most provincial elections are won by fewer than 60,000 votes across competitive ridings. With our numbers, we can affect the outcome of this election if we work together. 

Our first step is to ensure fish, wildlife, and habitat restoration are central to the platform of every party. BCWF executives and staff will meet with MLAs and party leaders to explain our concerns and make sure they understand that we will mobilize every vote we can.  

You also have a role to play. 

I urge BCWF members to join our campaign and meet with their current MLAs and candidates from every party, early and often, to explain our concerns as conservationists, hunters, anglers, and sport shooters. Together, we can ensure that party platforms reflect our priorities. Only then can we hold them to account and spur the kind of positive change we need. 

To engage with voters in the months before the next election, the BCWF will be meeting with member clubs, holding town hall meetings across the province, hosting informative online webinars, and planning a mass gathering to demonstrate our strength and commitment.  

As a charitable organization, we are non-partisan and will not support specific candidates or political parties. Instead, we urge you to vote for candidates who demonstrably share our values. Invite candidates to speak at your local fish and game club. Ask questions and seek assurances that they support science-based wildlife management and fair access to fish and game for resident hunters and anglers. 

Hunting and angling opportunities and backcountry access are being negotiated behind closed doors, with no public input. If you are concerned that your way of life is slipping away, you are not wrong.  

You are also not helpless. 

We can influence this election candidate by candidate, vote by vote. Plan to attend campaign stops and events and ask questions of all the candidates. It is vital that they hear our concerns everywhere they go. Talk to your family, friends, and neighbours about the erosion of opportunities to enjoy British Columbia’s natural assets and wild places. We all want the opportunity to hike the trails, camp in the backcountry, fish in our lakes and streams, and hunt sustainably. 

It is important that the government enshrine in legislation goals to restore fish, wildlife, and habitat, and the ability of all British Columbians to access our waters, forests, and recreational opportunities before they are bargained away. The province currently lacks a principled approach to land management. There can be no prosperous future without a framework for sharing these spaces. 

The BCWF will provide you with the materials that you need to influence policy and platform development and to discuss these issues in meetings with aspiring MLAs and at public meetings. Conservationists, hunters, anglers, and sport shooters have the opportunity to halt and reverse the erosion of conservation and public access to fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation.  Let’s seize this opportunity to make sure fish, wildlife, habitat, and public access are prioritized by our elected officials.  

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