Making life bearable

Dear sir:
These comments and observations are posed as questions for the prospective candidates vying for the leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, and presumably the position of premier of Ontario, and the probable new Cabinet.
The tourism industry was dealt a nasty, unfair blow in January, 1999 when the mega-rich Shad Foundation bought off some pork-barrel politicians. That action of “ANTI” hunting and fishing has caused a loss of millions of dollars of direct revenue to the province and a loss of jobs, and a revenue-producing source of taxpayers the government budget badly needs.
The action was the previously unannounced closure of the spring bear hunt.
The tourism industry had to cancel plans, return deposits of customers, and generally arouse the ire of tourists that had been spending millions of U.S. dollars and enjoying themselves in Ontario for many years.
A boycott has resulted by the tourists and the tourism industry, and the taxpayers are paying the price. It is not likely any of the Shad funds went into the provincial treasury to offset this loss.
The lame excuse given for the reason of the closure was that it was possible a momma bear could mistakenly be killed during that season and would result in the orphaning of her cubs. That would result in their death, too.
The concern is real to the “ANTIs” and the uneducated. But the real working people in the Ministry of Natural Resources obviously were not consulted, and were given a gag order about the action of closure and momma bear protection.
Just for the record, the real facts are or were not considered. In the spring, the dominant bears are males. Baits are used to lure the animals in for observation. No self-respecting momma would allow her cubs anywhere near a situation that could allow a dominant bear to make a meal of them (yes, bears are cannibals as well as the largest predator in North America).
Hunters and guides have ethics and rules that prohibit the harvest of bears when accompanied by cubs. A violation of that action would result in a fine and loss of hunting privileges. It also is not good sense to eliminate the breeding stock—and your future business.
At present, the areas in the province where bears live are starting to be overrun by nuisance bear encounters. This is bad for the bears and the indiscriminate destroying of these creatures results.
Even though legislation regulates them as a big game animal with a prescribed hunting season and conditions with some protection, those people who harass, maim, kill, poach, and deal with the nuisance factor are protected by the same legislation.
That protection exists to the extent that the government workers enforcing the hunting legislation do not even show concern for the bears killed and the circumstances.
There are thousands of bears killed every year by the agriculture industry, cottagers, municipal workers, and police. Many of them were mommas. In fact, more nuisance bears were killed this year than tourism bears were taken.
Wouldn’t it be a fair and wise action for the politicians to return the spring bear hunt?
If some corrections are to occur in the lost revenue to the province, hunters, and the tourist industry, these should be worked out by the participants.
The concerns of the “ANTIs” and their expenditure of the millions of dollars have resulted in a worsening of the situation. Don’t you think the taxpayer should be asking the politicians to smarten up and show some restraint in their politics?
John Steinke,
Fort Frances, Ont.