[ON MY WAR PATH – 006 – Hottest Anti-vs-Hunter Showdown 02]
From the field journal of Anthony Marr
June 6, 1996, Thursday
[10:20 @ Wayne and Anita Gray’s house in Campbell River]
Finally, the “Bear Referendum” road tour is underway. But I started with the wrong foot forward. To begin with, I succumbed to the flu four days ago, and was still running 102F on the eve of yesterday’s departure.
Yesterday started with a highly successful media conference at the Terrace Room of the Waterfront Hotel – present: BCTV, CBC TV, CKWX (AM 1130), CKST (AM 1410), CHMB (AM 1320, Chinese), CJVB (AM 1470, Chinese), Ming Pao Daily News (Chinese), etc. About a dozen mikes in front of us, “us” being, from left to right (facing the audience of about 30) and in sequence of speaking: Paul George, Greg McDade (president of Sierra Legal Defence Fund), David Boyd (attorney @ SLDF) and myself. All four of us were dressed in suit and tie – perhaps standard attire for SLDF lawyers, definitely unusual for WCWC campaigners, and downright unheard of for WCWC’s founder Paul George.
The phrase that stuck in my head was McDade’s “magnificent quest”, when, by appearance and verbal prowess, the green-feathered legal eagles were magnificence personified themselves.
After the conference, we all went back to WCWC for final arrangements, and off Erica Dennison and I drove in my 1993 silver Mazda MX6 to Tsawwassen to catch the “1-o’clock” ferry to the mid-Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo (crossing time 2 hours) from where we would drive two hours to the north-Island city of Campbell River for our first presentation-meeting slated for 19:00 (7pm) at the Haig Brown House.
We got there in what we thought to be good time – 12:50 – but were told by the woman at the ticket booth that the ferry had left five minutes before, and the next one wouldn’t leave till 15:15. Both of us spontaneously swore up a storm and decided to switch line-up to catch the 13:00 ferry to the provincial capital of Victoria in south Island instead – driving time to Campbell River about four hours. But by loading time, we were the third car cut off, and the 14:00 Victoria ferry was delayed till 14:30. So we switched back to the Nanaimo line-up. By the time we finally got to Campbell River, it was 20:30 (8:30pm). An inauspicious start.
To slow down things even more, since we didn’t know where the Haig Brown House was, we had first to meet a Bear Watch woman called Shari Bondi at the Marina Motel along the highway. My car was so stuffed to the gill that Erica had to go out so Shari could guide me to the meeting place, while Erica and Shari’s daughter Serena took a cab from the motel.
The meeting, by invitation only as organized by our host Wayne Gray, was small – about 12 people – but each was a key representative of a local group, including one Keith Urchuk of the BC Wildlife Federation, who, as soon as I entered the room, came to within inches of my face and said, “I saw you on TV. The price on your head just went up ten thousand dollars.”
“Is that all? I’m disappointed,” I replied.
But even as I spoke, disappointment was not the sentiment. Nor was it surprise, since we’ve been expecting trouble for weeks. The closest word I can find to describe what I felt is perhaps “disconcerted”. Erica had not arrived to witness the exchange and share the sentiment with me, and that was a little disappointing, since we’ve become a bit of a team.
Urchuk was also disruptive and confrontational throughout my presentation, saying that we had no right to threaten his “right” to hunt. Most of the others were supportive. Since the presentation started more than an hour late, I pretty well rushed through my untried slideshow presentation, followed by a Q&A during which Urchuk heckled me some more. One formidable older gentleman by the name of Noel Lax said that during the war people had to dismantle their iron gates so that the country could have the material needed to manufacture weapons against the Nazis, and that today, in our war to protect threatened wildlife, we have to make some sacrifices, including laying down our weapons. Urchuk, needless to say, was none too pleased. In the end, Erica signed up five volunteers from the group, and two more later from the motel.
After the meeting, Wayne Gray led us back to his house where we were billeted overnight, and where his lovely wife Anita made us a late snack of bagels and Doukhobor borsch. Now, as I’m writing, Wayne is making me (Erica is still asleep) breakfast. If we’re treated like this every day by our hosts along the way, we could easily be spoiled.
From the field journal of Anthony Marr
June 7, 1996, Friday
We stayed last night at the residence of Eric S. and Diana P., a house of wood and glass and light at Nanoose Bay near Nanaimo. As with Wayne and Anita, Eric and Diana are total strangers, except for their name’s being under the names of local environmental organizations in our itinerary compiled by myself. The raw data came from various environmental contact lists from WCWC’s Communication Coordinator Sue Fox and publications such as BC Environmental Network’s green directory.
Erica’s job is to contact all these groups and people to ask for their support and participation. One of the things in which they can help is to offer us free bed and breakfast. So far, so good. So far, so wonderful, in fact, and not just the food, but the spirit.
Still, I had only 2 hours’ sleep the night before, and no more than five hours last night, still due to sinus blockage. Felt almost totally depleted yesterday. Still somewhat weak-kneed right now.
Nonetheless, I gave a short (15 minutes, allotted) but (someone said) “motivational” speech (without visuals) to a small group (about 15) of WCWC Mid-Island chapter people, including WCWC Director Annette Tanner and her husband Scott of Qualicum Beach, and Nanaimo’s Gay Cunningham and Dirk Becker, among others. I was more or less an adjunct guest speaker in a prearranged speaking event featuring Joe Foy as the keynote speaker. Being a mainly by-invitation-only meeting, few if any hunters were present.
Tonight, the somewhat fabled whale watching town of Tofino edging the open Pacific Ocean on the west coast of Vancouver Island, also of Clayoquot (pronounced “KLAHK-quot”) Sound fame. The Friends of Clayoquot Sound, many of whose members were among the 700 arrested during the blockade of 1994, including leader Valerie Languor, will be orchestrating the event…
On the phone, Bonita and I had a collective groan, when she told me that the Smithers branch of Sierra Club is siding with the hunter and guide-outfitters and wrote us a letter saying, “… We suggest that you cancel your public meeting, or…” How despicable! I wonder what Greenpeace and the Green Party have to say.
From the field journal of Anthony Marr
June 8, 1996, Sat.
[15:44 @ George and Cathy Gibson’s residence in Nanaimo]
Yesterday’s event in Tofino, organized by a woman named Marika, was the most successful so far, with about 40 people attending, and zero hunters as far as I could tell. We signed up easily 25 people as volunteer canvassers on the spot, who also took application forms to pass on to their friends. A young Indian maiden named Giselle – probably of Nuu Chah Nulth lineage since I was walking on their ancestral land – gave me an eagle feather as a reward.
After my presentation, Julie Draper – one of the Bear Watch founders, gave a short speech and showed a short video called Fun Kill… Bear Watch infused about $10,000 start-up funds for the project a few weeks back… Bear Watch is a direct action group whose members would follow the hunters into logging roads and, when the hunters made ready to shoot a bear, the Bear Watch people would blast their car horns or blow their whistles to scare away the bear. Recently, however, just last week or two as a matter of fact, it back fired on them. A group of four Bear Watch women were lured in their car via logging roads into a secluded spot near Campbell River and surrounded by hunter vehicles so they could not escape. A hunter jumped on to their hood and smashed their wind shield with an axe handle. The women kept their car doors locked and video cams rolling. The footage was later aired on BCTV. In a similar incident which happened right in Campbell River itself, near a police station as a matter of fact, the police refrained to intervene when a group of Bear Watch women were being harassed by hunters. Campbell River, being farther north, is a hunter-dominated town.
When WCWC sat down with Bear Watch’s Jan Theunisz to discuss terms of the Bear Watch donation, Jan suggested that we don’t publicize it and keep WCWC and Bear Watch separate in the public eye, for tactical reasons. This made it a little awkward for me, because deep in my heart, I applaud what Bear Watch does, but on the other hand, could not publicly condone their illegal or legally-borderline activities. So, several times, especially in Campbell River, when hunters questioned me regarding WCWC’s involvement with Bear Watch, I disclaimed personal involvement with Bear Watch, which was true. It was also true to the extent that Bear Watch is not directly involved in the campaign. I greatly admire what they do, but my role in bear protection is the Bear Referendum champion.
Billeting was arranged by a 21 year old woman volunteer and member of Friends of Clayoquot Sound called Dana, to be at the Friends’ office. I am honoured, because this requires a certain amount of trust. WCWC’s office, for example, is full of sensitive information not for public consumption.
We did have the option to go back to Eric-and-Diana’s place, or go to Annette-and-Scott’s. Erica preferred the latter, and I had no objection. So, despite the lateness and the twisty nature of the highway, we started back the way we came. At the last moment, Erica came down with severe pain in her lower abdomen. I drove her to the Tofino hospital, where she was treated by a young female doctor called Joan Hrady, who recognized me from a time past, who did look familiar to me. We had a warm little visit. By the time my car actually hit the road, it was 00:15, and by the time we finally arrived at Scott and Antenna’s in Qualicum it was almost 04:00. Erica slept most of the way, but for me, it was another four-hour sleep night. I don’t know how long I can last this way. Already, I feel somewhat mentally sluggish. A psychologist says that sleep deprivation is cumulative, and each hour short is one IQ point lowered. According to this, at this rate, over the last couple of weeks at least, my IQ must have dropped by at least 50 points down to 150!
From the field journal of Anthony Marr
June 9, 1996, Sunday
[11:04 @ Annette and Scott Tanner’s home in Qualicum Beach]
Today is to be spent mostly on the phone to advance-book speaking engagements in the provincial-interior and to develop contacts. We can’t afford to have too many of these off days, since we have to cover 50 cities in 60 days, but from an organizing point of view, today would be more constructive off than on, and if used efficiently, this off-day could be used to generate many on-days. In other words, today is not going to be an off-day at all, just no driving.
Last night, I slept from 23:00 to 08:30. After weeks on 4-5 hours of sleep per night on average, finally I enjoyed a full night of uninterrupted rest. I have no idea how I’ve had so little sleep, compounded with the flu, and could still function to capacity these last few days. People are said to be able to perform super-normally under immense pressure, maybe the pressure of hunter confrontation is actually doing me a favour! Anyway, the flu has about run its course. I should be more on par today than yesterday.
Like Anita and Wayne, Diana and Eric, Cathy and George, Annette and Scott live in a uniquely beautiful house amidst a lovely garden, and specific to Annette and Scott’s, a panoramic view of the Juan de Fuca Strait to boot, and all have hospitality to spare. As usual, I offer to Erica the better bed, but in this house, even the lesser bed is wondrous, lying under a roof of glass, beyond which are the stars.
I must not take these people’s hospitality for granted. It has to be earned. So far, we’ve been earning it, that’s all.
[18:32] Just came back from a long walk with Annette and Scott, and their female Boxer Jessie. The Tanners are as lovely a couple as the other three, but Scott is the only plane crash survivor among them. It was last August, in broad day light. With him was environmentalist John Nelson, and wildlife photographer Myron Kozak, some of whose Kermode bear images grace the walls of WCWC. They were on an air reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of Strathcona Park, when their plane mistakenly entered a box canyon and could not turn around nor gain enough altitude to escape. It slammed into the trees on the steep canyon-wall. The pilot, a veteran in his seventies, was killed instantly. Myron, who was in the co-pilot seat, was also killed, reportedly instantly, but according to Scott, not. Scott said that Myron stayed alive and conscious, and screamed and groaned, and repeated the phrase “too much pressure”, and expired only after the rescue team had arrived. John Nelson , who shared the back seat with Scott, suffered a broken ankle, and limped out for help. Scott sustained a broken leg, two crushed vertebrae, a cracked pelvis, split sternum, and other internal injuries, but managed to drag himself out of the wreck, in which process he was soaked with gasoline. Both Scott and John tried to extricate Myron but to no avail. To this day, Scott has a limp, and has to wear a leg brace, but did walk the same distance as did Annette and I. Scott, a house-painting contractor, just began to get back to work in May. He believes that he survived for a reason, and I can see that reason in him clear as daylight. Annette described the scene of when a police officer came to her house to inform her of the accident. She recalls her initial reaction as one of denial, saying, “No. No. It didn’t happen.”
My Campbell River hosts Anita and Wayne had not been involved in a plane crash, but their ordeal was worse. Couple of decades back, they were driving their Mustang down a highway, with their two small children in the back seat, when they were rear-ended, which burst their gas tank and set the car on fire – inside and out. Due to the force of the impact, the frame of their car was buckled, and they could not open either door. Meanwhile, the back seat had become engulfed in flames, and the front seats had caught afire. Suddenly, an old man appeared at the passenger’s window and, with apparently super-human strength, yanked the door open. He dragged Anita out of the car, and then Wayne, while he himself was getting burned. Tragically, the children had by then expired. Today, Anita and Wayne have healed well, physically and spiritually, look beautiful together, and have two grown children. The Phoenix has risen!
From the field journal of Anthony Marr
June 10, 1996, Monday
[23:45 @ Scott and Annette Tanner’s]
Our presentation tonight was at the Courtenay Museum, after a vegetarian dinner at the Bar None Café, which obviously is the local hangout for the animal advocacy community. Not a large audience – about a dozen people – but thoroughly pre-enlightened. As with the Tofino crowd, I could be preaching to the converted except for that it is also an information session, about both the global bear parts trade and the BET’R Campaign, with neither of which are they particularly familiar. And more than “preaching to the choir”, it is to teach it a new song, to honor a different drummer, to rally the troops into a single fighting force in a higher war.
In the audience was the famous and highly respected Ruth Masters – a lady in her seventies who has fought a life time of local environmental battles, and is nonetheless still a fire-brand. She is one of those women who disrupt legal bear hunts – her weapon of choice being a whistle, as featured in Fun Kill. She personally came to thank me for doing what I’m doing, calling it “heroic”. I feel much humbled in her presence.
And then, there were two younger local activists, both Susans – Holvenstot and McVittie – who jointly invited me back to address a larger audience, saying that they couldn’t motivate their friends on the hunting issue the way I motivated them both tonight. Most if not all in the audience signed up as volunteer canvassers. Henceforth, Courtenay, like Tofino, shall be to me the epitome of a green and friendly town.
A week has gone by, and except for the initial duel with Keith Urchuk in Campbell River, our fear of massive hunter harassment hasn’t quite materialized. It’s almost disappointing, considering that I’ve already expended the necessary energy to steel myself for the Big Confrontation. But I’m not complaining.
I can actually see storm clouds within our event horizon. So far, our presentations have been more or less by invitation only, but things will soon change. Maureen Sager of Port Alberni, which we shall visit on June 13, Thursday, informed us that the Alberni Valley Times will run a pre-event article the day before, June 12, Wednesday, which will publicize the time and place of the meeting. This should bring out a larger, but assuredly mix, audience. The first open invitation – an invitation to trouble first and foremost, I suspect. But considering the small audiences so far, in which we have not signed up enough volunteers in any electoral district, thus far, the open format may well be the one we have to choose.
The prospect of a major Port Alberni confrontation is unnerving us both. Erica and I know that confrontation is inevitable on this tour, “So bring it on!” shouts our bravado. But we approach it as David must have when approaching Goliath. And what kind of a sling-shot do we have to vanquish such an inhumane, in human, and armed-to-the-teeth enemy? What do we have to just keep ourselves from harm? And what do I have to keep Erica from harm? I feel ill-equipped, even unequipped, to do the job, with no training whatsoever. Erica is looking to me for leadership, and rightly so, at least looking to see how I would handle the situation when it arises. But whom do I have to look up to? There is not even a case-precedent that I could take some points from.
From the field journal of Anthony Marr:
June 11, 1996, Tuesday
[23:36 @ Mary and George West’s place on Cortes Island]
Erica and I had a discussion, and agreed that she will stay at Annette and Scott’s for the next two days, mostly doing phone work, while I visit Quadra and Cortes Islands today, and Port Hardy tomorrow, on my own. Most of where I’d be going will be out of cell phone range. There is no point in having her sit in the passenger seat of my car for hours on end.
Day after tomorrow, I offered her the option of going with me to Port Alberni, or staying on at Scott and Annette’s. I would prefer that she stayed at the Tanner’s, so I don’t have to worry about her safety as well as my own, but on this point she was adamant. She is going to Port Alberni with me, end of discussion. I respect her for it.
With the passenger seat empty, I feel a little lonely, but immensely free. I can meditate, crank up my car stereo, open my heart to the Universe, commune with Raminothna. My own version of the “unbearable lightness of being”?
I didn’t even mind not making the 10:30 ferry from Campbell River due to “dangerous cargo” sailings every Tuesday. The 11:30 ferry got me to Quadra Island with time to spare.
In the early afternoon, I had a very pleasant nature-hike with Noel Lax and Tanya Store, the latter a young reporter who interviewed me on video during the hike for the next issue of the Quadra paper.
In the late afternoon I took another ferry and landed on Cortes Island in time for dinner at the wooded estate of Shivon Robinsong and Bill Weaver, whose wood-and-glass house was another one-of-a-kind. They are video documentary producers. It so happened that Diane Hardouin visited them yesterday, and talked about making a bear protection video, featuring this campaign, to be shown in Canada-3000 airliners during flight, asking the passengers to donate their pocket change to Western Canada Wilderness Committee towards the campaign. Diane’s daughter Jennifer Jones died recently in a car crash at Whistler. Jennifer was a great lover of bears. In memory of her, Diane started a Jennifer Jones Foundation to raise funds for bear protection. Bill did an impromptu video shoot of me sitting on his sundeck, with big trees in the background, followed by another interview by Shivon, who used the term “whirlwind” to describe the tour.
The presentation at Cortes was gratifying, not in number, but in warmth of reception and feedback. Each and every one of the dozen or so people there signed up as volunteers. My hosts of the night are Mary and George West, a handsome middle-aged couple. My abode of the night – yet another one-of-a-kind log house, in a deeply forested setting.
Return visit invited by all, as the two Susans did, and for the same reason.
While driving, I have plenty of time to think. When I take a few steps back from my present predicament, I could not help but be philosophical about it. Just a year ago, could I have prepared for what I would become? No. I could not have even imagined it – for anyone, much less myself. It is almost outlandish that I’m doing what I’m doing, if viewed from, say, the place of my previous employment, much less way back in the late 60s when I was a UBC student. Even now, though I’m the “leader” of this campaign, I don’t feel that I’m the leader even of myself. I’m not even talking about Raminothna, but of fate. Only fate could have led me to Cortes Island today, Port Hardy tomorrow, and, Port Alberni the day after. And yet, there was the reality, or is it an illusion, of me exercising my free will every step of the way. Do I have a chance not to be what I am? If fate wills it, not a chance.
But what is fate? Is the future, my future, prewritten millions of years ago in the stars? Or is it just a string of blind chances based on probability, and my free will is to just navigate through the unknown in which it has placed me in the first place?
From Anthony Marr’s field journal:
June 13, 1996, Thursday, mostly sunny
[13:18 @ the Grays’ residence in Campbell Island]
Today is going to be the toughest day since the beginning of the road tour. Of course I refer to this evening’s Port Alberni engagement, but also the amount of media to be done:
1. 09:15 phone interview from Ruth’s apartment with Denise of the Campbell River Mirror,
2. 10:00 in person interview with Rob of the Port Hardy Gazette at the Gazette office,
3. 14:30 in person interview with Quentin Dodd of the Campbell River Courier at the Courier office,
4. 17:00 in person interview at the Tanner’s with Chris Beacom of the Parksville-Qualicum News, and
5. 19:00 in person presentation at the Friendship Centre in Port Alberni, with newspaper reporter present, hopefully.
Now, I’m writing this at Wayne and Anita Gray’s, with an hour to spare before the Courier interview. I was drawn back to the Grays as if by a magnet. I just couldn’t stop thinking about them since I heard their tragic-heroic story. Most of all, I was haunted by the moment when their children were being burnt to death. I have no doubt that Tears in Heaven would have the same effect on them as it does on me, no matter how many times it has been played and how much time has elapsed. This alone brings them deep into my being. Although I haven’t yet shared with them my Christopher story, I know they know I understand theirs.
I forgot to follow-up on the old man who saved them from the burning car. By the time he arrived, the seat-belts of both Anita and Wayne, which they could not undo, not to mention the hair on their heads, had been burned off, but the doors still wouldn’t budge. This 70-year-old superman grabbed hold of the red-hot door handle and yanked the door open, and extricated them, seconds before the entire car was engulfed in flames. What I forgot to mention was that he became an invalid as a result of the superhuman performance, with both shoulders and arms defunct.
May 8, 1996, Wed.
Ming Pao Daily News, p. A1, top article
by Eric Chan
(translated from Chinese)
Chinese Canadian seeking province-wide anti-bear-hunting referendum
The Western Canada Wilderness Committee is starting an Initiative Petition drive as a first step towards a subsequent province-wide referendum to ban sport/trophy/recreational hunting of BC’s Grizzly bears and the Black bears. If the petition goes to referendum, it would become the second provincial referendum in Canadian history after the recent Quebec referendum, and the first ever generated by the general public.
According to BC’s new Recall and Initiative Act (1995), any individual or organization can start a referendum. The procedure is first to conduct an “Initiative Petition” in all the 75 electoral districts of the province. Within a designated 90-day period, the “Proponent” must obtain signatures from at least 10% of the registered voters of each and every electoral district without exception. The would amount to approximately 220,000 signatures in total throughout the province. If subsequently it goes to referendum, or “Initiative Vote”, a 50%+ support vote from all BC’s registered voters in total, and a 50%+ support vote from at least two-thirds of the 75 electoral districts, would be required to win.
Anthony Marr, Western Canada Wilderness Committee’s leader of the BET”R (bear, elephant, tiger $ rhino) campaign, and Paul George, WCWC’s founder, intend to employ this provision to ban the currently legal recreational/trophy hunting of both the Grizzly and Black bears.
Two previous events gave Marr confidence in the viability of the project. The first is that WCWC, in an earlier petition for the protection of Clayoquot Sound, obtained 130,000 signatures from 64 electoral districts. The second is an Angus Reed poll commissioned by the environmental group Bear Watch in 1995, where 91% of those polled opposed the hunting of the Black bear when the purpose is to obtain only the head and hide (trophy) of the animal, and 78% supported the outright banning of bear hunting.
Marr is currently preparing for an 8-week, 12,000 km province-wide road tour to visit all of BC’s electoral districts. His proposed itinerary contains meetings with a broad range of environmental groups, some of which will take on the responsibility to collect signatures in their own electoral districts. He plans to start the tour in early June to network with these groups and to organize the petition. The 90-day petition period has been slated for September to December.
Marr says that as a result of a recent CBC newscast on the project, he has already received phone calls from various parts of the province where people offered help and lodging. He calculates that if the road tour is entirely self-funded by WCWC, it would cost upwards of $50,000, but with help from various groups, it could be as low as $10,000.
Marr understands that even to satisfy the requirements of this first petition stage would not be easy. Several such efforts on other issues have been tried in BC since last summer, but they have all failed. But even if this project fails, the initiative petition process would generate much media coverage and public awareness, as well as put pressure to bear on the government.
WCWC campaign director Joe Foy consider killing bears for pleasure and ego a “barbaric practice”.
May 16, 1996, Thur.
The Vancouver Province
by Charlie Anderson
Canvassers out to stop bear hunts
The Western Canada Wilderness Committee wants to put a shot gun to the head of bear trophy-hunting in BC.
And its weapon of choice is the new Recall and Initiative Act that was originally introduced to allow BC voters to get rid of unpopular politicians…
Anthony Marr of WCWC said the move is necessary to help maintain bear populations in the face of sky-rocketing poaching which, by definition, is out of control…
“It is going to require a massive effort, and we are counting on friends in other environmental groups to help out,” said Marr, who will begin his province-wide road-tour to propagate the message in June.
But Doug Walker of the BC Wildlife Federation slammed the move, which he says will penalize legitimate hunters of game.
“Our 35,000 members are people who like to hunt and fish and backpack and go out to the outdoors. They have a valued respect for the wildlife,” said Walker.
“These fringe groups like to come along and marginalize the fact that people hunt to put food on the table. They are not out there just for some blood sport. They are out there because this is part of something they have done for generations and generations.”
June 5, 1996, Wed.
The Westerly News
Referendum road tour aims to stop bear hunting
BC’s Black and Grizzly bear populations are currently threatened in four ways, according to the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, whose bear campaigner Anthony Marr will be visiting Tofino this week as part of his bear referendum road tour…
Marr says the skyrocketing poaching for body parts, recreational/trophy hunting, “nuisance bear” kills by conservation officers, and destruction of habitat, all threaten the bear population.
“We are convinced that if something is not done now, the bears in BC will go the same way as the elephant, tiger and rhino – on the steep path towards extinction. The Bear Referendum is meant to prevent this downward spiral to oblivion.”
Anthony Marr will be at the Wickaninnish Elementary School in Tofino on Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. to give a slideshow presentation on bear conservation and on the referendum project…
June 7, 1996, Fri.
The Vancouver Sun
Laws to curb wildlife trade
Environment Minister Sergio Marchi has brought in stiff new regulations to curb the illegal trade in wildlife and plants.
The regulations provide fines of up to $300,000 and jail terms of up to five years for people who illegally import endangered species or who are caught in possession of products made from these products.
For example, a store owner who sells a product made from tiger parts could be convicted under the legislation, passed in 1992, but only recently proclaimed.
Under previous legislation, it was illegal to import tiger parts into Canada, but once smuggled into the country, such parts could be sold openly, says Anthony Marr.
June 12, 1996, Wed
Alberni Valley Times
Wilderness group brings campaign to Port Alberni
The Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) is on the road to protect bears. The Bear Referendum Road Tour 1996 will be in Port Alberni on Thursday, June 13.
The goal is to get the government to hold a province-wide referendum banning the trophy and sport hunting of bears in BC.
Because 78% of people in the province are against sport and trophy hunting of Grizzly and Black bears, WCWC believes this is possible, said Anthony Marr, a WCWC campaigner.
… Between 4,000-7,000 volunteer canvassers are needed.
Organizers will be holding an information meeting in Port Alberni on Thursday, June 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Friendship Centre.
Signatures must be witnessed by volunteer canvassers who have registered with and been approved by the Chief Electoral Officer.
The 90-day Initiative Petition process will begin in September, Marr said. If the signatures are confirmed by the Chief Electoral Officer, the proposed referendum could be held in September, 1997.
Since the Act was passed in July, 1994, several organizations have attempted to initiate legislation, WCWC said. All have failed, citing over-tough requirements as the reason.
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)