The recent decision by the B.C. government to ban the regulated grizzly hunt to all but Indigenous hunters is a prime example of populism.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “populism” as: Political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want.

The ideas are often put forward in the absence of science or analysis of the long-term policy implications.

The threshold for populism is often driven by “popular support” for an idea, not because it is rational, stable or in the best interests of the resource, but because it is politically popular and in the short term will garner political support.

The issue is: Do you want your government to make the popular decision, or the rational decision? The former is driven by the public opinion, the latter by rigorous analysis of the consequences in terms of what is in the best interests of the resource and the populace.

In B.C., 78 per cent of the public, according to the government, is against the hunting of grizzly bears. But a rigorous analysis was conducted by the B.C. Auditor General and the conclusion was that hunting was not seen as a threat to grizzly bear sustainability and was considered a minor factor within the issue of larger habitat management. You can find the 74-page report, An Independent Audit of Grizzly Bear Management, at

The B.C. government originally made the popular decision that trophy hunting was bad, but stated that hunting for substance was permissible, including for food, social and ceremonial purposes by First Nations. The regulations to manage the trophy hunting through non-retention of bear parts were put to public consultation by the Ministry of Forest Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. From an administrative, technical, compliance and enforcement perspective, government concluded these regulations were unworkable. This was the message received both from inside and outside the government. It really didn’t matter where you sat on the debate; government tried to cut the bear in half, to nobody’s satisfaction.

Prior to a final decision on grizzly bear hunting, government was left with two choices, leave the status quo, or ban all licenced hunting of grizzly bears. Personally, I would not hunt grizzly bears. But if the hunt was sustainable, I would not impose my personal values on others to prevent them from hunting.

Populism won the day and now there is no hunt. First Nations can continue to hunt if they choose. In my view, the larger issue is this constitutionally protected right will be hollow when their fish and wildlife populations are gone. The right to gain economically from commercial uses of natural resources under the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples is also in question. First Nations have strong voices and can speak for themselves on how, where and why they want to engage in the grizzly bear debate.

The bottom line is the NDP government and the Green party have chosen a populist view not based on science that does not bode well for future resource management policy decisions.

Alan Martin is director of strategic initiatives at the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

A Presentation and Discussion on: Ecology and Conservation of Mule Deer in Idaho: Management Strategies for Restoring Populations. The Presentation was by: Dr.Mark Hebblewhite Professor of Ungulate Ecology at the University of Montana.

Photo of a grizzly bear with an elk kill.

The BC Government is requesting comments on their grizzly bear policy, which ends the “trophy hunt” for grizzly bears. According to the policy, licensed hunters will still be able to hunt grizzly bears according to provincial regulations, but edible portions will have to be brought out of the bush and the hunter will not be able to keep the skull, paws or hide. BC’s First Nations will continue to be able to harvest grizzly bears and possess all parts of grizzly bears (including the “trophy parts”) when the harvest is done within traditionally used areas pursuant to Aboriginal or treaty rights (i.e. for food, social, or ceremonial reasons.)

Request for comment and policy documents (be sure to read them).

BCWF Conservation App Promo Image

The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) has launched a new app to make it easier for people who witness a threat to the environment to report it immediately to the appropriate agency.

“We’ve been working on this for nearly two years and now we’re ready to make this happen. We’ve given people the ability to report situations in real time and make certain those reports go to the appropriate agency,” said Jesse Zeman, the spokesperson for the BCWF resident priority program, adding that the app allows outdoor enthusiasts with smartphones to take geo-referenced, time staped photos or videos to report issues rlated to the abuse of B.C.’s natural resources.

Read more.

BCWF Conservation App Webpage including some instructions and a map of reports.

The BCWF’s Youth Program is coming to the Dawson Creek Sportsman’s Club this year with the Go Wild! Youth for Conservation Camp from July 10-14, 2017. Themed around conservation and leadership, this weeklong day camp for youth ages 13-17 is a perfect fit for those who enjoy the outdoors and want to gain leadership skills. Go Wild aims to inspire an interest in environmental stewardship and empower youth to take on a leadership role in their communities. Youth will also learn outdoor skills such as fire and shelter building. The cost is $50 + registration fees ($53.60 total).

For more information and to register, please go to: or search “Go Wild! Youth for Conservation: Dawson Creek 2017” on

For any questions regarding the camp, please contact Ariene Cabantog and/or Chris Lim.

Contact info: 

Ariene Cabantog – Kids and Youth Program Intern, Go Wild

BC Wildlife Federation

T: 604-882-9988 ext. 228 | E:

Chris Lim – Kids and Youth Program Coordinator

BC Wildlife Federation

T: 604-882-9988 ext. 228 | E:

Also see


Go Wild Dawson Creek 2017 Poster

In preparation for the upcoming provincial general election on May 9, 2017, the BC Wildlife Federation is asking major provincial political parties and individual candidates to answer 5 questions about issues facing fish, wildlife and their habitats.

North Peace Candidate’s Responses

Vote Image May 9

The BC Wildlife Federation and the North Peace Rod and Gun Club will be hosting a town hall meeting at 7 PM on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the Fort St. John Curling Rink.

If you are concerned about the future of fish and wildlife populations, and future generation’s ability to hunt, fish, camp, and recreate in British Columbia, you need to attend this meeting. Jim Glaicar, President of the BCWF will provide a provincial perspective, and we will also:

  • Discuss local wildlife and habitat management issues
  • Provide an update on First Nations land agreements
  • Introduce the local candidates for the North Peace riding for the upcoming May 9, 2017 provincial election

Town Hall Fort St. John Poster

BCWF Conservation App Logo

Available to iPhone users, the new Conservation App makes it easy for users to take geo-referenced, time-stamped photos or videos and to report issues related to illegal use, or abuse, of natural resources. The app works both in and out of service areas using the phone’s GPS.  Reports are sent to a secure server and then forwarded automatically to the appropriate enforcement agency. An Android version of the app will be available next year.

Download the app and visit the BCWF mapping website