Showing posts with label Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government. Show all posts

Saturday 30 June 2018

Politics and Jurisdictions

I grew up in a family where both my parents ran in provincial and federal elections.  Politics was a regular topic of dinner table conversation and my folks are still heavily involved with politics to this day.  As a child, during every election campaign I would help my parents deliver leaflets, or go with them to the campaign offices while they phoned constituents.  I grew up in such a political household that when I was in kindergarten and asked by my teacher to come up with a rhyme I proudly replied "Brian Mulroney rolls the dice and Canada pays the price!" *Facepalm*.  Anyways, all this is to say that I take it for granted that I have an innate understanding of how the political system works.  At the last BHA pint night that I attended on the 28th of June, I realized that for those who didn't grow up in politics, it is a confusing system and I should take the opportunity to break it down.

In Canada, we have 3 branches of government; Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. We also have 3 layers of government, Federal, Provincial/Territorial, and Municipal.

Without going into too much detail about how it all works, what is important to know is that they are all responsible for different things.  If you are interested in getting involved with advocacy it is important to be contacting the correct ministries and politicians for it to be effective.

Most hunting and angling issues are provincial, so most of what I am working on is by contacting my local MLA Judy Darcy where I live now in New Westminster (Her office is a 10 minute walk from my house), Minister Doug Donaldson (Responsible for hunting and non-tidal fishing), and Premier John Horgan.  I have had success with emails, letters, and phone calls.

 For hunting, angling, and conservation issues, here is how it breaks down.

Federal (Canada)

Federal Ridings in Greater Vancouver
Canada is divide into 338 ridings each represented by a Member of Parliament (PM) in the House of Commons and 105 seats for the Senate held by Senators.  BC has 42 ridings and MPs in the House of Commons and 6 Senators. 23 of BCs ridings are in the the Lower Mainland (Region 2)

To find your riding any of the following links will take you to maps where you can find out who represents you.  They will have an office in your neighbourhood and split their time between your riding and being in Ottawa.  You can send them mail, email, or call their local constituency office in our neighborhood to arrange a time to discuss issues with them.  You can also go there in person during the hours they are open.

Federal Government

Executive: The Queen (rep. Governor General), the Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau), Cabinet (Ministers)

Legislative: Parliament which is made up of the House of Commons and the Senate

Judicial: Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Tax Court of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada

Who to Contact About Federal Issues:

The Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau <>)

The Minister Responsible for the Issue: One of
Dominic LeBlanc
Catherine McKenna <> or <>
Ralph Goodale <> or <>

Your Local Member of Parliament (MP) (You'll have to look it up)

A Senator from BC

Federal Jurisdiction

1) Species At Risk Act (SARA):  This is legislation to allow the federal government to take control of the management of a species which is at risk of going extinct if the provinces aren't doing a good enough job. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada can use SARA to protect fish, wildlife, and habitat.

2) Tidal Angling: Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages all tidal angling, fish stocks, and license.  The minister responsible is The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc.

3) Migratory Birds: Environment and Climate Change Canada manages migratory bird hunting and licensing.  The minister responsible is The Honourable Catherine McKenna.

4) Firearms Licensing and Regulation: RCMP which is under Public Safety Canada. The Minister responsible is The Honourable Ralph Goodale.

Provincial (British Columbia)

The Provincial Riding Boundaries in Greater Vancouver

BC is divided into 87 ridings.  Each riding is represented by an Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who is your local representative in the government.  Their job is to represent the issues that matter to the people who live in their riding.  48 of those ridings are in the Lower Mainland (Region 2).  Since most hunting issues are provincial and since most of the ridings are in Region 2, those of us in the Lower Mainland have the power to change and shape how wildlife management and habitat conservation happens more than the entire rest of the province combined.  We have a responsibility to advocate since our region holds the most sway.

To find your riding any of the following links will take you to maps where you can find out who represents you.  They will have an office in your neighbourhood and split their time between your riding and being in Victoria.  You can send them mail, email, or call their local constituency office in your neighborhood to arrange a time to discuss issues with them. You can also go there in person during the hours they are open.

Provincial Government

Executive: The Queen (rep. Lieutenant Governor), the Premier (John Horgan), Cabinet (Ministers)

Legislative: the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

Judicial: Provincial Court, Provincial Court of Appeal

Who to Contact About Provincial Issues:

The Premier (John Horgan <>)

The Minister Responsible for the Issue: Either
Doug Donaldson <>
George Heyman <>

Your Local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) (You'll have to look it up)

Provincial Jurisdiction:

1) Hunting, Fresh Water Angling, Forests, Lands, Natural Resources, Rural Development: Conveniently, that is the ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development.  The minister in charge is Honourable Doug Donaldson.

2) Environment & Climate Change: Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.  The minister responsible is Honourable George Heyman.

Municipal (Your City or Town)

Municipal Jurisdiction:
1) Noise bylaws and No Discharge bylaws: Mayor and Council.

Who to Contact About Municipal Issues:
The Mayor and Council

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Form Letter For Advocacy

I decided it might be a good idea to write a form letter for advocacy.  I sent this to the BC Chapter of the BHA in case it might serve as a good starting point to make a form letter for people to use as a starting point to contact their MLA.  Feel free to use any or all of it.  Again, I have paraphrased a lot of great sources in conservation including my favourite Theodore Roosevelt quote, so...

<Your Name Here>
<Your Email Address Here>
<Your Phone Number Here>
<Your Home Address Here>

<Today’s Date Here>

Dear <The Name of your MLA Here>,

RE: Please Make Protecting Habitat a Priority

I am writing this letter because, as a hunter and angler who lives in your constituency, protecting habitat is extremely important to me.  I am concerned about the loss of high quality habitat and the resulting declines in fish and wildlife populations which I have observed, and which have been confirmed in numerous studies and reports prepared for the government.  The actions taken by the current government are a good first step, but there is a lot more which needs to be done to protect habitat for future generations. 

[Optional] I would also like to request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss with you in person the important issues facing habitat, fish and wildlife in BC.    

Recently, it was extremely distressing to learn of the extinction of the Selkirk Mountain caribou herd due to habitat loss.  A failure to protect the old growth lichen bearing trees which the caribou rely on is a mistake we cannot afford to repeat.  High logging road density and loss of old growth forest habitat is detrimental to numerous other species as well, including grizzly bears, elk, and moose.  This type of habitat loss crisis is occurring across BC and it is deeply upsetting to witness first hand.  I ask that you work with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development and the Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change Strategy to act on the following points to make protecting and restoring habitat in BC a priority. 

1)    Clear Management and Recovery Objectives
Habitat, fish and wildlife recovery plans need to include specific area or population numbers, rather than ratios or flexible goals.  Habitat continues to be lost while fish and wildlife population numbers are declining even when current ratios are being met.  

2)    Science Based Management 
Science should set policy and management objectives for habitat, fish, and wildlife rather than politics or public opinion.  Biologists and staff already employed by the province know how to collect the necessary data and recover habitat, fish and wildlife populations.  They need the funding, authority, and support to do so.

 3)    Increased Funding
BC has the least funding compared to all our neighbours while we have the most animal species and biodiversity which need protection (see info-graphic attached). 100% of license fees as well a higher portion of taxes and fees collected from the tourism and resource industries should go directly to habitat, fish, and wildlife management.

4)    Accountability
Habitat, fish, and wildlife managers as well as the resource industry need to be accountable for meeting population recovery and habitat restoration goals. Provincial agencies, biologists, and conservation officers need the legislation, regulation, and other tools to be able to set policies, ensure their involvement in resource industry extraction planning, increase monitoring, and have the necessary enforcement authority to hold industry accountable.

Spending time in nature and being able to source healthy and organic meat and fish is of the highest importance to me and my family.  I am worried that if action is not taken that we are destroying the natural heritage of future generations.  Please take action and make protecting habitat a priority.


<Your Signature Here>

<Your Name Here>