May 30, 2018
Angelo Lombardo, Executive Director
Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters
4601 Guthrie Drive
Dear Mr. Lombardo
Thank you for taking the time to write and share the concerns of the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.
Ontario hunters and anglers play a very important role in supporting wildlife conservation efforts. They understand better than anyone the importance of careful stewardship of our natural habitats and wildlife. But, the Liberals have turned hunting and fishing licenses into a cash grab to pay for their own irresponsible spending. At the same time, a lack of proper conservation funding has led to declining moose populations, understocking of fish, and various other issues with hunting and fishing.
This is unacceptable. These funds are meant to go into a special purpose account and be earmarked for conservation efforts and improving hunting and fishing in Ontario. A PC Government would use these funds accordingly, which would include hiring more conservation officers.
Similarly, the Wynne Liberals have consistently and significantly reduced the number of moose tags issued, as well as shortening the length of the moose-hunting season. The government should consider the economic and cultural benefits of the moose hunt in its policies and employ cost-effective, evidence-based approaches to managing the moose population and habitat protection.
Crown lands account for 87% of the land base in Ontario but the Ministry of Natural Resources has too often restricted access to these lands and the more than 2,000 lakes they hold. This precludes hunting and angling opportunities and even simple things like hiking and general tourism. Quite simply, it stops local citizens from accessing their own Crown lands without the threat of heavy fines for trespassing.
An Ontario PC Government would look to unlock Crown lands for hunting, angling, and tourism; and explore ways to increase public access to resource access roads, including forest roads.
For too long, successive Ontario governments have crafted hunting regulations based on emotion rather than on appropriate wildlife management practices. For example, they have refused to make cormorants a hunt-eligible species despite large populations and the negative environmental consequences of that bird population. While the spring black bear hunt has been reinstated, it was done only on a temporary pilot basis. This should be re-examined, with the mindset that municipalities in the North get the final say on allowing the hunt in their jurisdiction and that the population is effectively monitored.
Your dedication to conservation and upholding the traditions of fishing and hunting in Ontario is truly appreciated. When I am elected Premier on June 7th, I promise I will focus on investing in the priorities that matter most to the people of Ontario.
Thank you again for writing to me on these important matters and please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any further concerns.
Leader, Ontario PC Party