If we treated our customers as Natural Resources minister John Snobelen has treated tourist camp operators, we would be bankrupt and out of business in very short order.
It is impossible to comprehend the timing of his announced termination of the spring bear hunt. Perhaps “insensitivity” might explain how we view his actions.
We are very concerned about the effect the cancellation will have upon our business. Our regular camp customers are talking about cash flow difficulties and scaling back their construction/renovation plans for 1999 and beyond.
More to the point, we are not alone. Indirectly related businesses–such as service stations, restaurants, hotels, and motels–will suffer. Other business sectors, such as marine dealers, furniture and appliance stores, food stores, and car dealers, who sell directly to tourist camps, will see pending purchases cancelled or drastically reduced.
Mr. Snobelen’s newspaper ad speaks about the government’s intent “to assist tourist operators who would be affected by an end to the spring bear hunt” as if they are the only group that will be negatively impacted.
The focus of our objection is upon the way in which the decision was made. Not only were camp operators attending sports shows in major venues such as Chicago when the news blind-sided them, it also destroyed a significant part of their entire 1999 marketing strategy.
Consider, for a moment, the millions of colour brochures that were rendered obsolete at the stroke of your pen. One hopes that Mr. Snobelen has been the victim of bad advice because the alternate conclusion is very unflattering.
In your opinion, Mr. Snobelen’s proposal suffers from four major flaws:
(1). There is no proof that the spring bear hunt results in a measurable number of orphaned cubs. Therefore, the entire premise of your action is flawed.
(2). The majority of the residents of Northwestern Ontario do not support his proposal. He has managed to give new life to the north-south conflict so evident during the “Lands for Life” process.
(3). He has used high-handed, almost dictatorial methods, to achieve an unwanted objective. We get the message that the north has no political value at this time and with redistribution will mean even less. “Like it or lump it” messages are not well received.
(4). Your process is the antithesis of consultative government.
In summary, it seems to us that Mr. Snobelen has attempted to solve a non-existent problem and, as a consequence, created a Pandora’s box full of new ones.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done. He has made us into powerless victims responding to a “proposal”–the outcome of which is a foregone conclusion.
In closing, let me share a potentially positive aspect of Mr. Snobelen’s actions. You may be recorded in Canadian history as the Ontario government minister who lit the fuse of northern separation.
Steven J. Lundon, President
The Northern Do-it center