Contrary to a statement recently issued to Ontario media, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is more than willing to continue discussions on Metis hunting and fishing rights, following an Ontario Court of Appeal decision February 23.
“In fact, we met with (Metis Nation of Ontario President) Tony Belcourt briefly at our conference, and we clearly indicated our willingness to meet with them as we have in the past. We have already met with Mr. Belcourt in our office to discuss Metis demands. When we received their most recent request to set up a Metis information booth our conference was almost over. It would not have been fair to either Metis interests or those of our members to make a hurried, last minute presentation. Clearly, it is more appropriate to exchange concerns and ideas when there is adequate time for a full and open dialogue,” said O.F.A.H. Executive Director Mike Reader.
The court decision raises several concerns over conservation of Ontario’s Natural Resources. The Metis Nation of Ontario claims thousands of members now have special status with which comes the right to hunt and fish without licences, hunting and fishing seasons and other restrictions.
“We are concerned that unrestricted harvest of fish and wildlife does not mesh with province-wide efforts to ensure the long term sustainable use of fish and wildlife resources,” Mr. Reader explained.
“Conservation of Ontario’s natural resources is our business. Quite frankly, we believe the Metis people are also very concerned about conservation, and, all things considered, we may find that, when we meet again, we may not be very far apart on some issues,” Mr. Reader added.For more information please contact the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Communications Specialist Mark Holmes at 705-748-6324, fax to 705-748-9577 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org