OFAH making ‘joint efforts’

No one group is an island, especially in today’s political climate. That’s why Dr. Terry Quinney, provincial coordinator of fish and wildlife for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, is looking to make “joint efforts.”
Dr. Quinney was the guest speaker Thursday night at the North Western Ontario Tourism Association’s (NWOTA) annual banquet and dance.
“We’ve got a long-standing history [at the OFAH] on getting our hands dirty and our feet wet,” Dr. Quinney said. “What is new is the number of partnership we are involved in–from NWOTA to the forest industry.
“In the time of government cutbacks, developing partnerships is definitely the future of maintaining fish and wildlife in the province,” he stressed.
One area the OFAH and its partners have been active in is the “Lands For Life” round tables.
“The MNR has said they want to carve up the land base into four land-use groups. Overall, there is nothing more important to the OFAH than this,” Dr. Quinney stressed. “The results from the round tables the rest of us will have to live with for the next 20 years.
“It really is the future of Crown land use,” he added.
The OFAH and its partners are pushing for “multiple-use,” where areas of land are zoned for many different users.
“Multiple-use provides the most benefits for the most people,” he said, noting groups from tourism, to forestry to mining have been backing the idea.
“It’s truly integrating resource use and allocation across the land-base,” he said.
And he’s hoping these partnerships will spill over into some of the OFAH’s own lobbying areas–such as the proposed boating regulations set down by the Canadian Coast Guard that OFAH is fighting.
“The coast guard wants to see every boat, including a canoe, registered with the federal government, which will cost money,” Dr. Quinney said. “And until recently, they wanted everybody who stepped in a boat to have proven they have taken a boater’s safety course.”
Dr. Quinney said statistics show boating is a very safe activity. And when conditions get unsafe, often it is the result of an illegal activity, such as drinking.
“If it’s illegal acts that cause the drownings, why isn’t the coast guard pushing for enforcement rather than regulations?” he demanded. “We don’t need any of these coast guard initiatives which coast boaters money. It doesn’t make much sense.”
The OFAH also is trying to launch an hunter apprenticeship safety program, something the previous Natural Resources minister Chris Hodgson was to bring to Cabinet.
The program, which still would require everyone to take a hunter’s safety course, would allow younger children to hunt with licenced hunters. (They now must be 15).
“The hunter apprenticeship safety program will make it easier for young people to enter hunting but on safe conditions,” he said.
Dr. Quinney was optimistic these OFAH initiatives would come to pass with the help of its newly-associated partners.
“Not only can we work together, but working together, we can do more,” he enthused.