By PETER MILOBAR
MLA, Kamloops-North Thompson
HOW WILL KILLING MOOSE calves and mothers save the endangered mountain caribou?
This is a question on the minds of many British Columbians because and it’s the latest misguided step in the NDP government’s failed caribou recovery plan. Needless to say, the logic is a bit difficult to follow.
The thinking behind declaring open season on baby moose and their mothers is as follows: our B.C. caribou populations are in worrying decline; wolves are one of the primary predators of our caribou; wolves also eat moose, so by killing more moose we will effectively reduce wolf populations and therefore save the caribou.
It doesn’t take a conservationist to understand why this plan is a bit flawed. I am by no means a wolf expert, but I don’t believe them to be very picky eaters. If a wolf can’t find a moose, I am sure they would be more than happy to hunt more caribou if need be, meaning that this plan runs the risk of backfiring and endangering our caribou populations even further.
It is also a matter of ethics and whether this feels like the right action or not. I fully support controlled game hunting in this province, but there are so many other actions we could take to save caribou that are far more effective than killing moose calves and mothers.
But most importantly, this action is a contentious issue for so many British Columbians because it goes beyond just saving moose or even the caribou and highlights the growing regional divide in our province.
Our rural communities are often ignored and kept away from the consultation table even on decisions that impact their regions. The caribou recovery plan has been a prime example of this.
Ever since they took office, the NDP have negotiated the caribou recovery plan behind closed doors, leaving northern MLAs and the public largely out of the consultation process.
Even when the NDP finally opened public consultation and British Columbians expressed their deep concerns that the current caribou recovery plan would impact jobs and the economy in the North, the NDP steamed ahead with little consideration for what they were putting at risk.
Even when the BC Liberals introduced a petition of more than 12,000 signatures to the B.C. Legislature outlining their constituents’ disappointment with how John Horgan and the NDP were handling the consultation process, no meaningful action taken. The public consultation process was so poorly carried out that the NDP’s own appointed Community Liaison resigned in protest.
This lack of transparency and community engagement is exactly why thousands of British Columbians have signed a petition to stop the NDP from allowing the culling of baby moose and their mothers.
If you would like to see this government listen to our communities and develop a plan that will effectively save our caribou, you can add your voice to the petition that I’ve linked to on my MLA Facebook page.
Let’s tell the NDP to listen to our communities and save the caribou — without sacrificing baby moose.
Peter Milobar is the MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.