The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, (O.F.A.H.), the province’s largest non-profit conservation-based organization, is angry with recent remarks by Minister of Natural Resources Jerry Ouellette, in the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal. The Minister is quoted as saying that “. . . he can ‘t do much to combat the bear problem because of an outstanding legal challenge to the cancellation of the spring hunt by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.”
“It defies belief that the Minister of Natural Resources is suggesting that he cannot deal with concerns for public safety and conservation issues regarding black bears because of the O.F.A.H. court case,” said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director.
“The court case has nothing to do with the Minister’s ability to fulfil his mandate. Since the cancellation of the hunt, nuisance bear sightings have increased, bears are appearing in residential communities in greater numbers, more bear cubs are being orphaned than ever before and concerns over public safety have increased. We have repeatedly requested a meeting with the Minister regarding the legal challenge over the cancellation of the spring bear hunt and increasing concerns over public safety relating to nuisance bears but he has refused to meet. As an angler and hunter himself and someone who understands the issues, I expected more from the Minister,” Mr. Reader added.
Mr. Reader noted that the Minister’s comments suggest that he either doesn’t take the issue seriously or he has underestimated the O.F.A.H.’s resolve to see proper management of black bears restored in Ontario. He also pointed out that the Minister’s comments are a dramatic change from his views as a back-bench M.P.P. when he opposed the cancellation of the hunt.
“The Minister seems to have forgotten about his previous position and forgotten about the economic losses in Northern Ontario of $350 to $500 million and up to 3,600 person years of employment due to the cancellation of the spring bear hunt; now he seems to ignore the potential threat to public safety. We will meet the Minister at any time to discuss the bear hunt, particularly in terms of public safety, but he seems more intent on casting blame and hiding behind government lawyers than talking to major stakeholders and taking steps to control the black bear population,” Mr. Reader concluded.
Government Relations Manager
Manager of Fish & Wildlife
For the complete article in which the Minister remarked on the cancellation of the spring bear hunt, please Click Here.