The Kootenay East NDP candidate says if you want to blame a political party for the state of local wildlife management, blame the one that has been in power for the past decade and a half.
Randal Macnair is responding to remarks from Liberal candidates and the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund who suggest the provincial New Democrats cannot be trusted with wildlife issues.
Macnair, the former Mayor of Fernie, suggests the opposing NDP clearly support wildlife management.
He points to the Sustainable Wildlife Management Act that was introduced by Kootenay West New Democrat Katrine Conroy last year.
Macnair says the Private Members’ bill proposed to enhance and sustain wildlife habitat and create a fund for these efforts.
New Democrats argued the bill reflected priorities of hunters and fishers but also valued the interests of animal and land conservationists.
However, it was ultimately voted down in the BC Legislature.
The Kootenay East nominee for the NDP also suggests former BC Wildlife Federation Executive Director Patti MacAhonic is running for the New Democrats (Chilliwack – Kent) this election due to frustrations with the Liberals’ handling of wildlife issues.
Macnair says he is well aware wildlife in the East Kootenay is part of the region’s culture and livelihood.
He claims it has been undermined by the Liberals over the past 15 years by cuts to the BC Conservation Officer service, research and support to habitat.
Local Liberal nominees Tom Shypitka and Doug Clovechok donated $10,000 this week to support programs to feed starving elk and deer this winter.
The Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund announced earlier this year that they would be conducting the programs for the first time in two decades due to ungulate populations being hit hard by the harsh winter.
The Fund also put their support behind the local Liberals, and suggested the New Democrats don’t understand wildlife issues.
Macnair calls on the Liberals to put their money where their mouth is and believes if local groups are complaining about wildlife issues they should be pointing to the party who has been running the Province.
– Josh Hoffman
– Kootenay East NDP candidate Randal Macnair