The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG–The Manitoba government has introduced legislation to ban hunting with spotlights at night but some indigenous groups say that infringes on their constitutional rights.
The proposed legislation would ban night hunting in southern Manitoba, except for indigenous people who are granted a permit.
They only will be able to shoot in a specific area if it doesn’t threaten the viability of the species they’re hunting.
“It will provide enforcement greater tools to go after anybody who is, indeed, in the forest or the field at night with a gun and ammunition and lights,” Sustainable Development minister Rochelle Squires said yesterday.
The government hasn’t decided what criteria would be required for the permit or where exactly night hunting would be allowed.
Consultations with rural municipalities and indigenous groups are scheduled over the summer.
The bill also would ban hunting at night in northern Manitoba, but indigenous people with treaty rights would be exempt and would not need a permit.
Squires said the government respects the constitutional right of indigenous people to hunt without a licence and the legislation allows for a “very limited and very safe night hunt.”
But Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs Organization said he does not support the proposed legislation.
“They want to put us in an advisory role in providing permits to our First Nations who already have the right to hunt any time that they want,” he noted.
Daniels said they told the government they wanted to talk hunting safety and proposed First Nations regulate night hunting permits.
“It’s clear that there is no indigenous representation that is standing with them on this and they are not going to get it, either,” he stressed.
“They really missed an opportunity here to work with us.”