Part II – Bear Referendum
Chapter 27 – September Media Coverage
Common Ground monthly magazine
by Sue Fox
WCWC’s Communications and Publications Director
BET’R vote yes in Bear Referendum
The BET’R Campaign was launched by Western Canada Wilderness Committee campaigner Anthony Marr last fall to save the world’s endangered and threatened bears, elephants, tigers and rhinos. Anthony, being a Chinese Canadian, chose these four groups to protect because they are the ones most devastated by the Chinese tradition of using their body parts for medicinal and other purposes.
Of these species, 3 sub-species of tigers are extinct, while both species of elephants, all 5 species of rhino, the remaining 5 sub-species of tigers and 5 out of 8 bear species are classified CITES I – endangered. Of the remaining 3 species of bears, the Grizzly (Brown) bear – classified as endangered in several countries, and threatened in the rest, including Canada – is the next in line, followed by the Polar bear and the American Black bear. . . .
One June 5, 1996, WCWC’s founder Paul George hosted a media conference to announce the launching of the initiative to ban bear hunting in BC, and to kick off an 8-week road tour throughout BC by Anthony Marr. . . .
“I feel deep down inside that all hunting, whether for pleasure (recreational hunting), for ego (trophy hunting), or for profit (poaching), is morally wrong,” says Anthony. It is especially abominable for adults to teach children under age 10 to kill for fun ‘to hook them for life’, when these same children are too young to drive or vote.
“More over, BC has the potential to become the ecotourism capital of the world, if we stop squandering our wildlife and wilderness right now.”
Though Anthony’s road tour drew numerous highly dedicated volunteers and widespread media coverage, it also encountered hallfuls of hostile hunters . . .
September 4, 1996, Sun.
Sing Tao Sunday Magazine
(translated from Chinese)
The great bear-hunt debate
As of September 9, the WCWC will begin its 90-day Initiative Petition to try to force a province-wide referendum on the issue of banning bear hunting in BC.
On June 14, 1996, a 54 year old hunter was killed by a large Black bear at Tatlayoko Lake Valley, leaving behind his wife and 4 children.
In November, 1995, a Burnaby merchant was charged with possession of 33 bear gall bladders for the purpose of trafficking.
On February 1, 1993, the BC legislature passed a law to ban the possession and sale of bear parts. . . .
Since 1994, conservation officers have killed about 1,500 “nuisance” Black bears.
Of the 34 Black bears studied in a 3-year research project on Vancouver Island, 3 were killed by legal hunters, 3 by poachers, 4 by vehicles and 9 (3 females and 6 cubs) by other bears. . . .
Chinese Canadian bear hunter Wong Wing-Sing reported that over the several years he hunted bears, he’d been approached by a number of hunters and poachers who tried to sell him bear gall bladders. Most of these were Caucasians, and some were Aboriginals.
Hunter Med Crotteau said that groups like Bear Watch has no sincere wish to protect bears, but instead to wipe out bear hunters. He said that such groups are criminals and terrorists. . . .
Western Canada Wilderness Committee campaigner Anthony Marr, who is a Chinese Canadian, says that the government’s bear information – to overestimate total population and underestimate poaching extent – is slanted in favour of hunting, and is often quoted by hunters.
Regarding bear attacks, Marr says that it’s been overblown. “Bears are generally not aggressive against humans,” Marr said. “Their diet constitutes 70% vegetation, and the other 30% is largely scavenging. As for the attack incident in June, the bear was eventually shot and autopsy revealed that it has suffered brain damage due to a previous shooting; its behaviour was not typical of Black bears.”
Finally, he asks people who live in rural areas to manage their garbage disposal accordingly. Once a bear has become garbage habituated, it will be shot.
Bear-hunt opponents seek referendum
The Province, Vancouver, BC
by John Bermingham
… “The deadliest enemy is not the hunters, but the apathy of the ‘silent majority’,” said Marr…
All in favour of saving bear, vote yes – BC tests referendum law
The Globe and Mail, national
by Craig McInnes
… the critics say the hurdles set by the law render hollow the promise that people will be able to take matters into their own hands if politicians refuse to act as citizens believe they should…
Poaching won’t be tolerated – Ramsey
The Province, Vancouver, BC
by John Colbourn
“I respect the people who have brought this (petition) forwards,” said (Environment Minister Paul) Ramsey. “Whether or not banning hunting is a part of preserving the bear population is something the public is going to have to decide.”…
Anti-bear hunt petition launched
Sing Tao Daily (Chinese), international
… Ma Seeu Sung urges the Chinese community to stand up and speak out…
Battle for the bear commences
Ming Pao (Chinese), international
… Hunter Med Crotteau rebukes Ma’s campaign as being insulting to the Chinese community…
Bear crusader says pro-hunting side well organized
The Daily News, Kamloops, BC
by Michelle Young
An anti-bear-hunt crusader says he wasn’t surprised by the response of callers to his appearance on a Kamloops radio talk-show Monday morning.
Anthony Marr of the WCWC said the 1.5 hour show, hosted by Daily News editor Met Rothenburger on JC-55, drew 19 callers in favour of hunting, five against. The pro-hunting side is well organized and plugged up phone lines, he said about his appearance against BC Wildlife Federation president John Holdstock… “The 5 versus 19 call-ins illustrates that the silent majority is still silent,” he said…
Bear-hunt ban campaign strains ties between wilderness allies
The Daily News, Kamloops, BC
by Michelle Young
… BC Wildlife Federation president… John Holdstock said the WCWC’s effort …has already upset his group’s members.
“I’ve never seen our membership so angry,” he said. “An initiative like this goes to the core of what we do and what we believe in.”… “Anthony Marr has been trying to sell it as an anti-poaching issue. It’s a pro-poaching issue.”…
WCWC on its own bear hunt
Victoria News, Weekend Edition
by Anthony van der Guglen
…Behind the campaign is the premise that the province’s bear population is threatened by hunting, poaching and habitat loss…
BC Wildlife Federation forced to apologize for accusing WCWC of terror tactics
The Vancouver Sun
by Larry Pynn
The BC Wildlife Federation … has pulled the fall issue of its magazine off newsstand shelves because it contains defamatory statements against the WCWC.
As well, in ads appearing in The Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers, the federation makes a public apology for describing the environmental group, which prides itself on adopting legal tactics, as terrorists… In his editorial, (BCWF executive director Doug) Walker likened the WCWC to ‘terrorists groups who threaten human lives, burn houses, send razor blades in the mail or kill family pets to get attention…’
…Wilderness Committee director Paul George said in an interview the recall of the magazines and the apology in the Vancouver dailies is only a first step. The Federation must also apologize in smaller papers throughout the province and agree to pay all the Committee’s legal costs in launching the BC Supreme Court libel suit against the Federation, Walker and president John Holdstock…
Ban bear hunting
Terminal City, Vancouver, BC
by Paul Johnson
… One of BC’s foremost environmental organizations has discovered just how difficult the process surrounding citizens’ referendum can be. The WCWC is seeking to…
“The rules are just about unworkable,” says WCWC’s Anthony Marr. Their first problem is that referendum rules stipulate that there can be only one proponent for a referendum, but an unlimited number of opponents. In this case, Marr says, it’s WCWC against 107 parties: 69 organizations and 38 individuals… WCWC is also bogged down in the mechanics of the process… Marr points out that while referendums are common in many American states, “in BC things are so tough that no one has been successful in organizing a referendum.”
The Fortunate and The Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)