Elections

Ontario is days away from the date when voters get to mark their ballots and vote for a candidate they hope will become a member of the next parliament.  It’s been an interesting campaign, but I’ve heard next to nothing as to what the parties think about with respect to fishing and hunting or, other than carbon – principally CO2 – any thoughts they have about the environment.

It seems weird to me that these days caring for the environment, being ‘green’, or simply having an environmental conscience, is striving to reduce emissions from the use of fossil fuels. No talk about wildlife habitat management, fish and game harvest strategies or how wildlife concerns might be accommodated during mega projects like twinning the TransCanada highway. There was a bit of discussion on future development in the ‘Green Belt’, a swath of land with around the major metropolis of Toronto where development is tightly controlled, but other than that, nary a peep.

It’s as if all ecological issues will be magically resolved by focusing all of our attention on the use of fossil fuels. It’s the magic bullet that’s going to solve everything. And if we don’t do it, we’re doomed. All would be lost.

I think that’s a foolish attitude, but in much of Canada, at least, it seems to be a dominant meme. It is for sure here in Ontario.

In Ontario, there are three main political parties vying for power.

The Liberals have ruled for the past 15 years and have already conceded defeat, although the premier is now voicing contrition and tearfully requesting the populace keep her party in power in a minority government by voting in at least a small bunch of Liberals. Fish and wildlife management (except for carbon – we are in a cap-and-trade system with Quebec and California) was, during their time in office, never of much interest to the Liberals.

The Progressive Conservatives (a name that signals a political oxymoron if ever there was one) haven’t said much lately and didn’t say much about F &W during the long period of Liberal reign. However, the last time they were in power, they actually accomplished a lot for anglers and hunters; for one, they vastly increased the number and extent of Parks and Protected Areas, with most of these areas continuing to allow for hunting, fishing and trapping. During this campaign, they have proposed to do away with the ‘carbon tax’.

The New Democrats have been, like the conservatives, rather silent on matters that pertain to fishing and hunting, with the exception of being ardent supporters of the hunting and fishing rights of Aboriginals and Métis; like the Liberals, they are also big on focusing on reducing our use of fossil fuels and thus addressing climate change. They are also anti-nuclear. Last time they were in power was a political fiasco; ineptitude and bungling typified their time in office and extended to the fish & wildlife management file.

There are other parties running as well, including the Greens and the Libertarians, both of whom are fielding dozens of candidates, but according to all the pollsters they have little likelihood of actually electing anybody (apparently the Greens have a realistic chance of having a single member elected).

All I can hope for is that whoever wins, the next few years will be better for us anglers and hunters and the fish and wildlife we care about than the last decade has been.

But, since no one has been talking, who’s to know? Pretty sad, really.

If you’re not from Ontario, I hope that the situation is more upbeat in your jurisdiction. I know some places are worse, but I also know some places are better. Let’s all hope that the future will bring more of ‘better’.

4 comments
  1. Thanks, I certainly agree that this file should have had more prominence. Quite apart from the fishing and hunting aspects of wildlife management an area also not given attention is the situation with regard to protected species. The public at large seems oblivious to the fact that the Ontario Liberal Party has broken the law by condoning the massacre of countless thousands of bats and birds over the years since they set up their friends with lucrative, heavily subsidized windmill operations. These species are protected under the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act and the Endangered Species Act and if you or I were killing them we’d be in jail. And where is PETA on this file; the duplicity of the eco-fascists never ceases to amaze me. The legislation authorizing this fiasco not only ran roughshod over local municipalities but virtually bypassed the Environmental Assessment Act with the surveys we heard about being nothing more than a drop in the bucket of science with no scientific oversight. I wonder how many cases of West Nile would have been prevented if so many predacious bats and birds had not been exterminated by this illegal action! Regards, Ron Alton St. Joe’s Island, Ontario

    • It’s a sad state we are in. Too much of what’s being done in wildlife world defies reason.

  2. Glenn Webber said:

    No one should be surprised that there is less and less attention paid to matters pertaining to the natural environment during elections in Canada. It is the outcome of the long term trend where a higher percentage of Canadians live in large urban centres and have little connection or direct involvement in activities that are based on the management of the natural environment. The numbers of fishermen, hunters and also farmers are so small in relation to the overall population means they are becoming increasingly politically irrelevant. Political parties and candidates know this and focus their attention and priorities where the votes are.

    • What you write is true. Still, there are substantially more than a million anglers in Ontario alone, which means that as a group, anglers (and add hunters, as almost all hunters fish) outnumber many identified groups that politicians pander to. Part of the problem is there is a lot more squabbling in the outdoor community than there is agreement on a large list of issues.

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