Political pressure mounting to ban hunting on the Island of Montreal

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Hunting on the island of Montreal is prompting concerns -- and calls to ban it. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Feb 26, 2021

The Montreal agglomeration council has adopted a motion in favour of banning sport hunting on the Island of Montreal.

The motion aims to exclude and remove Montreal from the current provincial hunting map. Currently, the island is situated in Zone 8 North.

“Families and weapons do not mix, not in an urban park,” Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa said.

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Hawa is at the front of this fight. The West Island mayor has been spearheading this action for over 10 years all in the name of safety and security.

“The risk level is way too high and it’s an accident waiting to happen. That’s what we’re trying to avoid,” Hawa said.

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Hawa hopes to stop sport hunting across the island but more importantly, the issue is closer to home in L’Anse-à-l’Orme nature park, which is frequented by hikers and much of its borders are close to residential homes.

Hawa is not alone in this fight. All suburban mayors on the island, including the city of Montreal, have voted in favour of stopping the practice on their territory.

Hawa says this will send a clear message to the provincial government “that something needs to be done.”

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The provincial government authorizes sport hunting on the territory of Montreal when certain game is in season and the hunters are registered with the necessary permits.

Despite a municipal bylaw and signs at a number of nature parks stating hunting is not permitted on the island, many hunters annually disregard those rules.

“Whatever municipal bylaw we adopt, provincial law trumps it,” Hawa said.

According to Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, 11 deer were killed on the western part of the island in 2019 and another four in 2020.

All deer, according to the ministry, were slain by crossbow and none were recorded in the L’Anse-à-l’Orme nature park.

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“Fourteen people with weapons walked these trails, the same trails families are walking daily,” Hawa said.

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The ministry says no hunting accidents have been recorded on the island and the majority of seasonal hunting is done in other rural areas away from urban cities.

It adds that hunting is one of the most effective ways to control the animal population.

Hawa says if the population needs to be reduced, a planned and organized cull is more efficient and safer for the population.

“If there is a need for a population control, then go ahead and do it,” Hawa said.

Hawa says she hopes to meet with the provincial government to address her concerns. She adds that she will not be happy until a zoning change is made.

“There is no compromise to be made,” Hawa said.

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