November 24, 2016 10:49 pm
Updated: November 25, 2016 12:04 am

B.C. NDP plan to ban grizzly bear trophy hunt

WATCH ABOVE: The NDP says it will ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt, but critics point to a loophole they say will make it impossible to enforce. Linda Aylesworth has more.

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The B.C. NDP have promised to ban the contentious practice of grizzly bear trophy hunting, if they’re elected into office next May.

Party leader John Horgan made the announcement Thursday, saying the hunt doesn’t make economical or environmental sense.

“The people of B.C. need to know that our policy framework starts first and foremost with: we’re not going to be hunting bears for trophies. Not in British Columbia, not on our watch,” Horgan said in Vancouver.

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Horgan added that the hunt takes away from the province’s “booming” eco-tourism industry.

“Bear viewing creates way more jobs, way more revenue.”

The pledge comes after a recent poll found 90 per cent of British Columbians were opposed to the hunt.

READ MORE: NHL defenceman accused of illegally shooting grizzly bear to enter plea

Stewart Philip, grand chief of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, greeted the announcement with glee.

“I applaud the NDP for publicly stating their opposition to the barbaric practice of grizzly bear trophy hunting,” he said.

To be clear, the NDP is not proposing an all-out ban on hunting grizzlies; they’ll still allow hunters to kill if they plan on using the bear for food.

“When you take that meat out of the forest, you’re not taking the head, you’re not taking the claws, and you’re not taking the pelt,” Horgan said.

Ian MacAllister of the group Pacific Wild, which has been fighting to end the grizzly bear hunt for years, says Horgan’s plan is unenforceable.

“There’s clearly no way to enforce this. The only way they’d be able to do that is to video-monitor a hunter as they ate their grizzly bear dinner, to see if they did in fact consume the meat,” McAllister said.

READ MORE: ‘Famous’ grizzly bear feared shot by hunters in B.C.’s Chilcotin region

Other conservationists agree. Chris Genovali from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation said just as much, calling it a “pretend to eat the meat policy.”

Horgan didn’t immediately shut down the idea of banning the hunting of grizzlies altogether, saying “We’ll take those steps when we get there.”

Hunting grizzlies for sport was banned in the Great Bear Rainforest by the Coastal First Nations four years ago.

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