The BC Wildlife Federation is presenting a series of six questions to the federal party leaders as well as candidates within ridings. Region 7B of the BCWF sent out the questions to the candidates for the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding. The questions are presented below along with the answers provided by the candidates:

 

How would you maintain and increase Canadians’ priority access to fish, wildlife and wild spaces?

Matt Shaw Candidate, Liberal Party of Canada 

Access to wild spaces on all crown land is vital to a free and open Canada.  I will do what it takes to promote the free use of public wilderness.  I would also see what federal funds could be made available to promote this issue.

Todd Keller Candidate, Libertarian Party of Canada

I’m assuming you are referring to BC sportsman’s opportunity to fish and hunt in our own region. It’s my understanding that there is currently an imbalance between local access to fish and wildlife spaces and that which has been allocated to outfitters for tourism. Outfitters currently enjoy an opportunity to harvest game beyond what is allocated to locals. Clearly, local fishing, hunting and access to wild spaces have to remain free as possible with proportional access allocated to professional outfitters. Our BC wilderness is there to enjoy for all British Columbians and proportional access seems fair.

Bob Zimmer Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada

Have worked already on the sports fishing halibut allocation and was raised but will continue if thats what you,  my constituents, want me to do.

Do you support re-establishing the long gun registry or increasing the regulation of firearms or shooting sports?

Matt Shaw Candidate, Liberal Party of Canada 

No I don’t.  The long-gun registry does not increase public safety whatsoever, and it treats some of Canada’s most law-abiding citizens as a potential threat.  It is a very bad idea all around.

Todd Keller Candidate, Libertarian Party of Canada

No, in fact, where it concerns shooting sports I would look to make existing regulations for transporting their shooting stock more convenient for qualified shooting sports athletes.

Bob Zimmer Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada

No to a long gun registry …was a part of its removal and my Private members bill supported no additional registry type measures that would be imposed by a UN ATT regime. As Co-CHair of the inter-party parliamentary Outdoors Caucus (taking over for retiring Garry Breitkreuz) will continue to work on gun owner supportive policies.

How would you ensure financial compensation for fish and wildlife habitat to offset impacts from non-renewable resource extraction (i.e. pipelines)?

Matt Shaw Candidate, Liberal Party of Canada 

Clearly, a condition for approving a pipeline must include a residual royalty to offset the impact of that pipeline.  This money must be spent on repairing any damage to the environment and maintaining a healthy local ecosystem.

Todd Keller Candidate, Libertarian Party of Canada

No amount of money paid by resource developers to government to look the other way will help fish and wildlife. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous economic need for resource development and I would like to se all reasonable projects developed to benefit the economy. I wouldn’t advocate for financial compensation for development as fish and wildlife have no need for money. Rather, I would work with industry to ensure that impact from resource development has minimal or zero impact on fish and wildlife. If current development procedures are impacting fish and wildlife then those procedures have to be improved.

Bob Zimmer Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada

We have already ensured a user pay or “polluter pay” system of regulations for new pipelines so financial compensation is a part of the regulatory and environmental approval process.

How would you increase science based management of natural resources and the ability of scientists to independently communicate their results?

Matt Shaw Candidate, Liberal Party of Canada 

This is very important.  A Liberal government is committed to unmuzzeling scientists and basing policy on scientific evidence, not ideology.

Todd Keller Candidate, Libertarian Party of Canada

Science is science, you cannot argue with facts. One way to ensure a better quality of science is to make sure Scientists are not financially connected to industry, environmental or political lobby groups attempting to skew the outcome of scientific results.

Bob Zimmer Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada

We are supportive of scientific research and believe that our decisions should always be grounded in sound science. Government scientists are mandated to do their job without political interjections. Problems only surface when those tasked with specific scientific jobs stray off task and leave their jobs required political neutrality and become politically active.

How would you increase the capacity of Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to manage fish, wildlife and their habitats in terms of legislation, organization and budget?

Matt Shaw Candidate, Liberal Party of Canada 

The Liberal platform specifically allocates significant new resources to manage fish, wildlife, and their habitats.  This is a huge priority for me and for the Liberal Party.  Specific details can be found at: http://www.liberal.ca/realchange/protecting-our-freshwater-and-oceans/

Todd Keller Candidate, Libertarian Party of Canada

The Libertarian Party of Canada is dedicated to small government. We would look to phase out government funding of departments such as these and find alternate means of funding them. Obviously the Libertarian Party would not pull funding over night with something that is of the importance of Environment Canada or DFO. An agreeable, unbiased solution would have to be agreed upon before we would transition away from the current model. This would take years.

Bob Zimmer Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada

We have already been involved in support for fish management through many initiatives such as the support for salmon through the salmon stamp initiative)

Do you support using all federal hunting and fishing licence fees and a national levy on hunting, fishing and outdoor equipment to be directed for firearms education, and fish, wildlife and habitat conservation?

Matt Shaw Candidate, Liberal Party of Canada 

Absolutely.  That’s what the purpose of licence fees was always supposed to be.

Todd Keller Candidate, Libertarian Party of Canada

No, why would we collect a fee for one thing and then use it for something else? In a “user pay” system fees should go towards the things they are charged for, anything else is a money redistribution scheme where a third party decide where the funds go after they have left your pocket for a different reason. Getting what you pay for is the only fair and equitable way to deal. Who decides what constitutes “outdoor equipment”? Once a government implements a tax levy they rarely if ever go away! The Libertarian Party of Canada is dedicated to lowering your tax bill.

Bob Zimmer Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada

I am supportive of initiatives that help to ensure a vibrant fish, wildlife habitat while supporting responsible resource development.

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