|Written By: Jim Grayston
Former NOTO Executive Director
|Originally Published in the May/June 1996
issue of The Outfitter Magazine.
The Bear Alliance kicked off their much advertised media campaign against bear hunting during the first week of April. It wasn’t a surprise. They had been telling us that they would do it since last September.
They are well funded, and the campaign, which includes billboards, newspaper advertisements, TV and radio spots is filled with misinformation and emotion.
Their plan is clear: end spring bear hunting in Ontario, End fall deer hunting in Ontario and end bear hunting in Canada.
They have targeted Ontario because they believe they can win it.
On April 16th, they held a press conference in Toronto. As you might expect, they have ignored the facts as well as the enormous cost to many Ontario residents. They are attempting to convince the voting public that bear populations are in danger and that bear hunting is unethical and is carried out by “cowards”.
We know from MNR that the Provincial population is between 80,000 and 100,000 animals and that provincially we are hunting bear sustainably.
The value of bear hunting to the economy is almost $40 million annually.
We have received in writing the support of the Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources for the continued support of the bear hunt.
We must be able to demonstrate as an industry, however, that we are harvesting in a sustainable fashion and that during the spring hunt we are harvesting approximately 20% females. The Bear Alliance will continue to attack this portion of our industry. They have the money to be in it for the long haul.
Continue to remind your MPP of the value of your hunt, not only to your business but also to the local communities and the Province.
MOT Minister Suggests Northerners Pay Vehicle License Sticker
On a recent tour of Northern Ontario, MOT Minister Al Palladini proposed a $66 per vehicle annual licensing fee as a means of generating $15 million a year to be used for highway improvements in Northern Ontario.
As you recall, the license sticker fee was waved for Northerners a number of years ago to offset the high gas prices that we are forced to pay.
I’m not sure what has changed. I know that gas prices in North Bay have risen five cents a litre in the last month. If the Minister truly feels that he required this money to assist his highway budget then maybe he should take the legislative action that will control our gas prices.
We have written the Premier and the Minister objecting to this action. I’ll keep you posted once I receive an answer.
Lamprey Program Cuts Mean Bigger Problem
The Federal Government recently announced its intention to cut $1.3 million of its $4 million international commitment to the sea lamprey control program. Sea Lamprey were introduced to the Great Lakes through shipping lanes during the early part of this century. The resulting loss of sport fish from the Great Lakes all but killed fishing.
I recently received a news release from the OFAH on this issue. They were able to uncover Federal Government documents on this issue.
The following are highlights as reported by OFAH Special Advisor Chris Brousseau:
Department of Fisheries and Oceans plans to place a heavy financial burden on anglers and boaters through new taxes and licenses. One scheme suggests that anglers pay for a new $50 license as well as $15.00 supplemental fees for bait, $1.00 tag for each fish caught and additional licenses to fish in different areas of the Province. According to the OFAH, these fees could easily add up to more than $100 per year for every angler in the Province.
Another plan would be to charge boaters a graduated license fee, depending on the size of their boat. Small boats would be charged a $50 license, larger boats could be charges $500 or more.
Other revenue generators are a twenty cent per litre tax on marine fuel, docking fees at all Federal docking facilities and six percent surtax on the GST and PST.
Under the disguise of replacing its sea lamprey control program worth a total of $4 million, the Government’s plan for new fees would, conservatively, generate in excess of $400 million a year.
Virtually all of your Federal MP’s are Liberal. Please take the time to contact them and express your concern.
I have arranged a meeting in Ottawa in May to meet with the Northern Ontario Liberal caucus to express our great concern. At that same time I hope to have a meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. We must keep the pressure on this one and remember that it wasn’t the anglers who put the lamprey in the Great Lakes. It was the Commercial shipping industry, yet the Government now expects us to pay.
We must also remind our Members of Parliament that a shortage of funds in the lamprey budget does not give them the right to recover the gross amounts of money which have been reported by the OFAH. Thanks to Chris for uncovering this issue.
I’ll let you know how successful I’ve been with the Federal Liberal Northern Caucus in the next Outfitter.
Before I go there is one final topic that I want to discuss. That being the Gas Handling Regulations. Those of you who were at convention recall that Tom Scott, Chief Inspector, Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations made a presentation on this subject.
At that time he advised operators of the new regulations and the impacts to them.
He also offered a free inspection and assured operators that no work orders would be provided unless a leak or spill was imminent, and that if corrective measures were required that the operator and inspector would work out an agreed upon time for action to take place.
At the Minneapolis Sportshow I was advised by one of our western operators that he had called the Ministry for information, received an inspection and was given a work order to have the current measures in place within a year and a half. There was no agreed upon time and the work order was given.
I wanted to share this member experience with you.