Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1996-06-14 Albernie Valley Times article

June 14, 1996, Fri.
Alberni Valley Times
by Diane Morrison

Hunters confront Anti-Hunter who campaign to put them into permanent hibernation

Bears, whether Black, Brown, Grizzly or Polar, are not endangered species in North America. Anthony Marr wants to keep it that way.

The campaigner for Western Canada Wilderness Committee was in Port Alberni Thursday night with his effort to ban sport and trophy hunting of Grizzly and Black bears.

It was a very hard sell to the audience of about 70 dominated by hunters and hunting guides that packed into a into small, hot room at the Friendship Centre, made even hotter by the temper flaring up from wall to wall.

The hunters say they are the endangered species. They wanted the distinction between legal hunting and poaching to be clearly recognized. “Go ask the bears, to see if they can,” said Marr. He also said that some hunters and guides make this is impossible, because they are themselves poachers.

Marr believes that, with both legal hunting, poaching and conservation officer kills, about 8% of the Grizzly bear population and more than 10% of the Black bear population are being killed each year. He said the province’s Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy clearly states that the species can sustain no more than a 4% annual mortality before going into decline, and even this, according to Marr, is too high.

Members of the audience disputed Marr’s numbers saying that, on Vancouver Island at least, the Black bear population has been increasing by 15% for the last 10 years. Marr countered that the Black bear populations on southern Vancouver Island, and some in Mid-Island, have been decimated in various locales, citing the Cowichan Lake area as an example, and challenged the hunters to produce written documentation to support their claim, which they did not.

A number of people asked why Marr’s main thrust was to shut down legal hunting when the problem is poaching. Marr replied that both in combination is the problem, and that he has another sub-campaign targeting poachers and traffickers of bear parts. A Chinese Canadian, Marr has taken on both Canadian hunters and the Chinese demand for the body parts of these animals.

After about an hour of cross firing, WCWC campaign assistant Erica Denison finally stood up and said that until poaching can be brought under control, they want to buy time for the bears to recover. One of the hunters pointed at her and said, “Young lady, you are not old enough to teach us anything. Sit down!” Marr pointed at a middle-aged woman in the audience who had been quite outspoken in favour of hunting, saying, “I’ve been listening to this young lady for the last hour. Erica, please continue.”

Marr needs to get hunters on his side, the woman said, not slam them, because hunters also want to stop poaching.

Some audience members said it is organizations such as WCWC, advertising the fact that bear parts are worth so much on the black market, that is increasing poaching. Marr scoffed at this as an “ostrich attitude”.

They objected to being told that they can’t legally hunt bears, but bears that get into garbage and smash bee hives can be killed for being a nuisance. Marr said, “The bears you kill are not nuisance bears, and that killing nuisance bears is not your job.”

When shown a picture of a bear shut in a small cage with a tube leading out from its gall bladder to extract bile, one man said that countries that treat animals like that are not democratic and so they have no conscience. Marr countered that lots of capitalists have no conscience either.

Another man was convinced that if WCWC us successful in shutting down bear hunting, it will try to shut down all hunting. Marr said, “If another hunted species becomes threatened or endangered, I would champion its cause as well.”

Back to poaching, Marr said that when an animal such as tigers and rhinos is declared endangered, the demand and price, and so the poaching, skyrocket, hastening its slide into oblivion. “It is a very vicious cycle, and the purpose of this campaign is to try to keep our own bears out of it.”...

1996-06-14 Field Journal #9 @ Qualicum Beach on Port Albernie

June 14, 1996, Friday, mostly sunny

[12:02 @ Annette and Scott Tanner’s in Qualicum]

TGIF - Thank God it’s Friday - if only because it is the day after Thursday. And what about Thursday? It was the night of the dreaded Big Confrontation in Port Alberni, and it lived up to expectations and more.

By the time I reached the Tanner’s house it was shortly after 17:00. 17:00 was the time set for the interview with Chris Beacom of the Parksville-Qualicum News. Expecting to be slightly late, I had called Erica and asked her to entertain Chris until I arrived. Erica had been given strict instructions by E-Team and myself not to act as a spokesperson, especially with media, but when I did arrive, which was about 17:10, Erica had gone deep into her own interview, and she carried on for another 15 minutes even knowing that I was there. I didn’t go into the room to interrupt them because I didn’t want to seem impolite. Chris, however, eventually asked if I was Anthony Marr and, once knowing that I was, turned the interview on to me. But even after that, Erica still did not desist, and kept on interjecting and interrupting me, as if competing for air time. And some of the things she said was not particularly in line with what we stood for and what we were doing, which would serve at best to distract from our road tour’s main thrust which is anti-hunting. I had no idea of what she had said to Chris. I guess the article will tell.

But this, compared to what happened in the evening, was just a tiny annoyance. What transpired was a horrific free for all, the “all” being the 60+ hunters in an audience of about 65, all crammed into a room meant for no more than 30. It was a hot summer night, and the body heat and the red hot verbal exchange made it resemble an oven, and the oven doors were jammed by hunters. Of the five or six supporters, at least two or three were so intimidated that they slipped away unnoticed, leaving Maureen Sager, my local host, and two or three other women to hold the bag.

The hunter group included two or three guide-outfitters and a conservation officer who was overtly chummy with the hunters. About two-thirds were men and one-third were women, the latter attired from T-shirts and jeans to business suits and high heels, but all with hints of blood lust in their eyes, especially as they unflinchingly stared at me. No doubt, however subconsciously, they looked upon me and Erica as their collective quarry tonight. And when they fired their verbal barrage, they did it in pack form, often when I was in mid-sentence. I estimate that of every ten sentences I attempted in my slideshow presentation, I could finish maybe two.

Maureen, an active woman in her 60s, did her best to keep order, but was totally ignored, and at times assaulted by such words as, “This guy flies in and out, but you have to live here. So watch your mouth, lady!”

Another jeered, “Not only is this guy from out of town, he is from out of the country, for God’s sake, and he has the gall to barge in here and tell us what we can and can’t do!”

An older man echoed, “All Chinese immigrants should be charged $100,000 for the damage done to the Canadian culture, like what this guy is doing right now!”

About a third thorough my slideshow, I found myself turning off the projector and saying, “Fine. If you want a debate, we’ll have a debate.” Strangely, this put some order into the proceedings, since then they would be interrupting one another if they spoke more than one at a time.

Basically, their message to us, obviously predetermined, was “scrap your campaign, or else”. The milder ones were thoughtful enough to say, “change your campaign to strictly anti-poaching but pro-hunting, and we’ll support you, or else”.

If the men were bad, like punching in the gut, some of the women were worse, like pinching your sensitive zones. One said, “What you’re trying to do is to deprive my son of a great heritage that his forefathers created and God condoned, and his father, and his mother, now enjoy.” Another said, “If you don’t play the game, honey, you don’t make the rules.”

Through the first hour, Erica sat on the sideline. Finally, she could contain herself no longer, and stood to make a point. Before she could finish her sentence, as was now the norm, another older man shouted, “Young lady, you are not old enough to lecture me.” I pointed at the “honey” woman, who appeared to be in her mid-thirties, and said, “I’ve been listening to this young lady for the last hour. It’s about time you listen to this young lady,” indicating Erica, “for a few minutes. Go ahead, Erica.” Strangely, the man acquiesced, and stranger still, the “honey” woman gave me a sweet smile.

In contrast to the physical heat which I found hard to tolerate, I found myself handling them in a surprisingly relaxed state, matching wits with them point by point without losing my cool, and in fact enjoying certain moments of this my first major confrontation with a large group of well organized hunters. They maybe good shots through a scope, but are lousy shots through their mouths.

At one point, a hunter said, “Who gives you the authority to do what you’re doing?”

“What do you think of the Chinese tradition of using bear gall bladders for medicine?” I asked back.

“I think that’s obscene.”

“Should it be banned?”

“Damn right! It should be banned, and it is banned, but by the law, not by some freelance environmentalist.”

“I agree with you on this, but I think killing a magnificent creature to hang its head on a wall is equally obscene, and it, too, should be banned, unless, like you, I have a double standard.”

At another point, when one of them was talking about “ethical hunters”, I responded with, “If there are ethical hunters, there must be unethical hunters?”

At another point, I asked them point blank whether they had never deliberately broken any rule, never taken anything on the side, never left any kills unreported, never taken more than their permits allowed, never wounded any animal that got away. “If you have never done any of these, raise your hand,” I challenged them. Almost every hand came up, but many after a few unmistakable seconds’ hesitation.

It is clear that the hunters, in spite of their oft-repeated claim that they are the original and true conservationists of wildlife, care first and foremost for the perpetration of their blood sport, and whatever conservation effort they may exert is first and foremost so that they will have something to hunt.
The intimidation tactic is evidently orchestrated by the BC Wildlife Federation whose own stated prime goal is “to promote the sport of hunting”, although many came close to admitting that for those who shoot from their 4X4s on logging roads, there is no sport at all.

They view our attack on the bear hunt as an attack on the entire hunting edifice from the top down, since the Grizzly bear is considered the apex predator of BC, and from the foundation up, considering that Grizzly bear hunt is pure and unadulterated trophy hunting. It strikes me as futile to present to them the government’s over-estimation of the Grizzly bear population and under-estimation of the poaching extent. These numbers suit them and they hang on to them as gospel truth. Their “faith”, like that of the Creationists who ignore all scientific evidence to the contrary, cannot be questioned.

It is clear that it would be futile for us to try to convert them. Our job here is to rally the already converted into a coherent fighting force. But in terms of this evening’s meeting being a work session, it was unproductive and even counter-productive. The few supporters who showed up either disappeared or were too intimidated to sign up, at least in the presence of the hunters. But not all is lost. The plus is that a reporter from the local newspaper was present, and from the readers of his article may emerge a certain number of volunteers. Partly because of his presence, the hunters at least maintained a sense of restraint in terms of physical violence, but they seemed determined to give him something dramatic to report, and I think they did an admirable job in that.

The hunters left the room while we were packing up with the help of our hosts. One of the ladies commended us for being “brave” and another said to me, “Anthony, now I have full confidence that you can talk your way out of any situation.”

Well, debating is one thing. Driving with the pedal to the metal is another. While loading my car, I noticed a truck parked in the shadows about half a block away, engine and lights off, but with two people inside. As I drove off, I noticed that it did the same. I made one or two random turns and the truck followed suit, staying about half a block behind. At a red light, the truck pulled right up to my rear bumper, with its high beam glaring into my rear view mirror. I looked for a police car but couldn’t find any. I looked for the police station and couldn’t find it. Finally, I took the plunge and got on to the highway due east back to Qualicum. The truck did too. I could identify it because it had one head light brighter than the other, and one of the parking lights was out. I did not bring it to Erica’s attention in order not to alarm her or show my own alarm.

We talked for a bit, and she surprised me by coming right out to say that she could sympathize with the hunters’ view point, and that maybe we should re-examine our anti-hunting stance. I thought I heard bits and pieces of this talk yesterday at the Tanners’ when she was talking to the reporter. She admitted that she had been thinking along those lines since almost Day 1. She said that if we dropped anti-hunting and just went for anti-poaching, namely to press for a ten-fold increase in penalties, we would get the support of environmentalists and hunters alike, and that we would certainly succeed. She even went as far as to say that she might start her own anti-poaching referendum if WCWC rejected her idea. She acquitted herself by saying that her first concern was the bears, and that if we won the anti-poaching referendum, lots of bears would be saved, whereas if we stayed our course against legal hunting as well as poaching, we would set up the hunters against us and would surely fail and end up with nothing, and that even if we could succeed, we would force many legal hunters to become poacher. So, she’s lost it, at least our original principle.

I listened to her with one ear, and kept an eye on the review mirror. Erica reclined her seat and soon fell asleep. I increased my speed, and the truck did the same. I slowed down to see if it would pass, but it did not, and if it tried, I wouldn’t let it anyway, not wanting to be blocked. I sped up again, and the truck did likewise, and pulled closer to my bumper the farther we left the town behind. Before long, it didn’t even bother to keep up a pretense and began tailgating. I’ve been tailgated a thousand times by highway loonies before, but these weren’t hotheads but cold-blooded killers. I thought about what I should do next.

I tried the cell phone, but we were outside any service area. Only one thing left. I had to out-run it. My car, a 1993 Mazda MX6 Mystere, is low, aero-dynamic, light and nimble, with a 2.5 litre 164 hp V6 engine under the hood, five-on-the-floor and four wide 205-55-15R V-rated new tires on the pavement, and according to the car magazines can do 0-60 mph in 7 seconds, which is right up there with the Mercedes and BMWs - in performance if not in price. Best of all, with its sport suspension, it has a .86g lateral-g-force tolerance, whereas that of a truck is less than .70g. This means that my car can take a corner much faster without losing traction. The highway was dark and twisty, and cresting and troughing, and hemmed in by thick forest on both sides, which sounds forbidding, but I deemed it advantageous to my car over the truck. So I floored it and took the curves at the limit. The truck, probably with a big V8, could probably gained on the straights, but on this highway it was left in the dust, or was it in the ditch. I kept this up for miles, until I was sure it had given up the chase, and still I maintained a fair clip until I saw the lights of Qualicum. Erica slept through the whole thing, but woke up about then and said, "Why are you driving so fast?" I kept the chase to myself, even from the Tanners, not wanting to sound melodramatic.

This morning, Erica relented and said that she would continue with the current campaign, but how firm would her resolve be? Is it just to keep a job?

This evening, we are going to Nanaimo to give a presentation at the Brecken United Church, 19:00. The event is arranged by George Gibson of Sierra Club. But we received a fax from Bonita yesterday, which Erica didn’t show me, which entailed Bonita to fax another copy directly to me, about Sierra Club being super-pissed-off due to a PSA having been placed in the Nanaimo Times about Sierra Club sponsoring WCWC’s anti-hunting campaign. Sierra Club has always been a moderate group who tries not to offend anyone on either side. I don’t know who put the PSA in, but George is in deep shit with Sierra Club. This is the second time George got into trouble because of us. The first time was when Erica told Diana Angus of Sierra Club, Cowichan chapter, that George had given us a list of Sierra Club members to call to invite to this evening’s Nanaimo event. Diana told Erica that George had violated Sierra Club protocol. I owe George one, no, two.

It is now 13:06. Thus far today Erica hasn’t done any work that I can see. We both know there is no end of work to be done. Now she’s out for a walk and has been gone for more than an hour. I fear that her spirit has gone even farther, and may not come back. Maybe if I had involved her in the highway chase, she might have regained some anti-hunting fire.

1996-06-13 Field Journal #8 @ Campbell River

June 13, 1996, Thursday, mostly sunny

[13:18 @ the Grays’ residence in Campbell River]

Today is going to be the toughest day since the beginning of the road tour. Of course I refer to this evening’s Port Alberni engagement, but also the amount of media done:

- 09:15 phone interview from Ruth’s apartment with Denise of the Campbell River Mirror,

- 10:00 in person interview with Rob of the Port Hardy Gazette at the Gazette office,

- 14:30 in person interview with Quentin Dodd of the Campbell River Courier at the Courier office, and

- 17:00 in person interview at the Tanner’s with Chris Beacom of the Parksville-Qualicum News.

Now, I’m writing this at Wayne and Anita Gray’s, with an hour to spare before the Courier interview. I was drawn back to the Grays as if by a magnet. I just couldn’t stop thinking about them since I heard their tragic-heroic story. Most of all, I was haunted by the moment when their children were burnt to death. I have no doubt that Tears in Heaven would have the same effect on them as it does on me, no matter how much time has passed. This alone brings them deep into my being. Although I haven’t yet shared with them my Christopher story, I know they know I understand.

The drive from Port Hardy back to Campbell River was meditative. Inevitably, I was drawn back into the Gray’s journey through pain. I thought if I were them, back then, when my beloved children were incinerated within reach of me, and their screams were echoing every moment in the chambers of my heart, and themselves suffering the worst of physical agonies, I would wish for death. Perhaps they did, too. And yet they lived, and recovered, and brought up two subsequent children, and now, without a doubt, are savoring very moment of their meaningful lives. The very fact that they are alive strikes me as miraculous. How I could even think about dying not that long ago is now beyond me. Now, it is the legendary “So much to do; so little time.”

1996-06-12 Field Journal #7 @ Port Hardy + article

June 12, 1996, Wednesday, sunny with clouds

[21:22 @ Ruth Howard’s apartment, #404 – 7450 Rupert St., Port Hardy]

I took the 09:50 ferry from Cortes to Quadra, but not before I had sat with George and Mary on their rear deck for cereal and coffee. As usual, when I arrived at a host’s place, it was after dark, and as usually, the morning sun revealed something wonderful and breath-taking. Here, it was a large and mystical-looking pond just off the deck, festooned with water lily pads and inhabited by hundreds of multi-coloured Coy gold fish, adults and their offspring. And as with my other hosts, Mary and George treated me like royalty.

While waiting for the ferry at Cortes, I called the Grays at Campbell River which lies along the way to Port Hardy, and was invited to their place for tea. When I arrived at their place, I noticed a BMW 750 touring bike. I joked about us switching vehicles for two days, so that I could ride the bike to Port Hardy and back. Seriously, he told me about his motorcycle accident in which he hit a deer at about 120 km/h, lost control of the bike and skidded a long way on his leather jacket until it was worn right through. This instigated me to tell them about the Scott Tanner plane crash and how he was soaked in gasoline, which in turn brought out from the Grays the following heart wrenching story:

Wayne and Anita, back in 1972, had a near new Mustang. One day, they were caught in a dust storm and was rear-ended by a truck which was having a race with another truck. The Mustang’s gas tank was ruptured and burst in flames. The two trucks just took off. The fire inside the cabin started from the back seat. Their two young children (ages 4& 2) in the back seat were burnt to death. Anita and Wayne themselves sustained burns over 70% of their bodies. The car doors were jammed by the impact. They were also tied down by their lap belts. The rear part of the car was a ball of fire and the flames were searing their backs. After some time, Wayne’s seat belt burned off and he could move but still could not open the door. Somewhere along the line, a 70 year old man appeared and single-handedly tore the iron-hot doors off their hinges. First he pulled Wayne out, then reached into the inferno to undo Anita’s belt buckle, and pulled her out too, sustaining burns himself. Shortly afterwards, he lost the use of both shoulders and arms, having overstressed them in the process.

A number of days later, when Wayne was still wrapped in bandages, with skin grafts galore underneath, it was announced that he could go and see Anita. When he got there, he had a hard time recognizing her, except for her breasts, which were not burnt. After numerous skin graft operations, the Anita today is a beautiful woman in her 50s, with only the right side of her neck showing some faint scar tissue. Wayne himself had almost no scar to speak of, except, perhaps, in his heart. The last sentences refer to those parts of their bodies not concealed by clothing only.

Their telling me this story in camaraderie, and my listening to it with reverence, is our instant bond. When I was making ready to leave for Port Hardy, the three of us shared an embrace that will stay in my arms for a long time.

I arrived at Port Hardy around 15:30. My host Ruth Howard wasn’t home, so I went to do some banking and had some Chinese food at the Pagoda restaurant.

Tonight’s presentation was not as gratifying as the others. I’ve been forewarned that the farther north I go, the colder the reception I would get. What I did not expect is that the cold reception came from a group of invited teachers. First off, much to Ruth’s disappointment, and even embarrassment, only about ten people showed up, mostly from the school where the presentation took place. She expected about thirty. There were clearly one or two enthusiasts, but also, quite unusually, two or three who seemed entirely unmoved. It could be worse, of course, if their unmovedness was in fact suppressed hostility, in which case I should be thankful that they were teachers instead of pro-wrestlers. In the end only three people signed up as volunteer canvassers, including Ruth and her room-mate Matt. Ruth sincerely commented how appreciative she was that I came all this way to give the presentation, and hoped that I find it worthwhile. Well, I do, if only because of her.

Now, I’m sitting comfortably in her modest young-people’s apartment a la Kitsilano – something more on my level. Ruth is only 26, whose handsome face is framed in long and luxuriant brown hair worn naturally. She looks almost totally different from what I thought she would look, even in the wrong age bracket. I thought she was in her late thirties or early forties. Her apartment mate Matt Kliewer is even younger. They are both substitute teachers, Matt from Deep Cove, North Vancouver, and Ruth from Point Grey itself, within blocks of my residence. They’re here because they couldn’t find work as teachers in Vancouver or Victoria. It’s a choice between being a substitute teacher in Port Hardy and a waiter or waitress in Victoria or Vancouver. I commend them for choosing the former. Matt, a kind-faced young man with a crew cut, openly confessed that he has long since given up on finding a woman in Port Hardy. Ruth has a boyfriend called Shane who has a degree in geography, but now working as a tree planter in the Cariboo-Chilcotins. How our country wastes talents!


June 12, 1996, Wed
Alberni Valley Times

Wilderness group brings campaign to Port Alberni

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) is on the road to protect bears. The Bear Referendum Road Tour 1996 will be in Port Albernie on Thursday, June 13.

The goal is to get the government to hold a province-wide referendum banning the trophy and sport hunting of bears in BC.

Because 78% of people in the province are against sport and trophy hunting of Grizzly and Black bears, WCWC believes this is possible, said Anthony Marr, a WCWC campaigner.

... The big order is that between 4,000-7,000 volunteer canvassers are needed.

Organizers will be holding an information meeting in Port Albernie on Thursday, June 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Friendship Centre.

Signatures must be witnessed by volunteer canvassers who have registered with and been approved by the Chief Electoral Officer.

The 90-day Initiative Petition process will begin in September, Marr said. If the signatures are confirmed by the Chief Electoral Officer, the proposed referendum could be held in September, 1999.

Since the Act was passed in July, 1994, several organizations have attempted to initiate legislation, WCWC said. All have failed, citing over-tough requirements as the reason.

1996-06-11 Field Journal #6 @ Cortes Island

June 11, 1996, Tuesday

[23:36 @ Mary and George West’s place on Cortes Island]

Early this morning, Erica and I hugged each other good-bye, last night’s fight forgiven if not forgotten. We agreed that she will stay at Annette and Scott’s for the next two days, mostly doing phone work, while I visit Quadra and Cortes Islands today, and Port Hardy tomorrow, on my own. There is no point having her sit in the passenger seat of my car for hours on end.

Day after tomorrow, she has the option of going with me to Port Alberni , or stay on at Scott and Annette’s. I warned her of the probability of hunter presence there, but she elected to go. I respect her for that. But I wish that she elected to stay. I don’t want to have to worry about her safety as well as mine.

With the passenger seat empty, I feel a little lonely, but immensely free. I can crank up my car stereo, I can sing to the top of my lungs, I can open my heart to the Universe, I can meditate to the heart of the Cosmos.

I didn’t even mind not being able to get on the 10:30 ferry from Campbell River due to “dangerous cargo” every Tuesday. The 11:30 ferry got me to Cortes Island with time to spare.

In the early afternoon, I had a very pleasant nature hike with Noel Lax and Tanya Store, a young reporter who interviewed me during the hike, using recorder and camera, for the next issue of the Quadra paper.

In the late afternoon I took another ferry and landed on Cortes Island in time for inner at the wooded estate of Shivon Robinsong and Bill Weaver, whose wood and glass house was another one-of-a-kind. They are video documentary producers. It so happened that Diane Hardouin visited them yesterday, and talked about making a bear protection video, featuring me, to be shown in Canada 3000 airliners during flight, asking the passengers to donate their pocket change for my BET”R Campaign. Daine’s daughter Jennifer Jones died recently of a car crash at Whisler. Jennifer was a great lover of bears. In memory of her, Diane started a Jennifer Jones Foundation to raise funds for bear protection. Bill did an impromptu video shoot of me sitting on his sundeck, with big trees in the background, and being interviewed by Shivon, who used the term “whirlwind” to describe the road tour.

The presentation was gratifying, not in number, but in warmth of reception and feedback. Each and every one of the dozen or so people there signed up as volunteers. My hosts of the night are Mary and George West, a handsome middle-aged couple. My abode of the night – their one-of-a-kind log house, in a forested acreage.

Return visit invited by all, as the two Susans did, and for the same reason.

1996-06-10 Field Journal #5 @ Qualicum Beach

From the field journal of Anthony Marr

June 10, 1996, Monday

[23:45 @ Scott and Annette Tanner’s]

Our presentation tonight was at the Courtenay Museum, after a vegetarian dinner at the Bar None CafĂ©, which obviously is the local hangout for the anti-hunting set. Not a large audience – about a dozen people - but thoroughly pre-enlightened. As with the Tofino crowd, I could be preaching to the converted except for that it is also an information session, about both the global bear parts trade and the BET’R Campaign, with neither of which are they particularly familiar.

In the audience was the famous and highly respected Ruth Masters – a lady in her seventies who has fought a life time of local environmental battles, and is nonetheless still a fire-brand. She is one of those women who disrupt legal bear hunts – her weapon of choice being a whistle, as featured in Fun Kill. And then, there were two younger local activists, both Susans – Holvenstot and McVittie – who invited me back to address a larger audience, saying that they couldn’t motivate their friends the way I motivated them both tonight. Most if not all in the audience signed up as volunteer canvassers. Henceforth, Courtenay, like Tofino, shall be to me the epitome of a green and friendly town.

A week has gone by, and except for the initial dual with Keith Urchuk in Campbell River, our fear of hunter harassment hasn’t quite materialized. It’s almost disappointing, considering that I’ve already expended the necessary energy to steel myself for the Big Confrontation. But I’m not complaining.

I can actually see storm clouds within our event horizon. So far, our presentations have been more or less by invitation only, but things will soon change. Maureen Sager of Port Alberni, which we shall visit on June 13, Thursday, informed us that she has pre-informed the Alberni Valley Times of the time and place of my presentation. The article will be in the paper on June 12, Wednesday. The first open invitation, first and foremost an invitation to trouble, I suspect.

An effect of the lack of a confronting external enemy thus far is the coming to the fore of the internal confrontation within our team. On the hour-long drive back from Courtenay to the Tanners’ in Qualicum, Erica and I finally “let it all hang out”, which took the physical form of a verbal tempest in the “tea-pot” of my car. But given our basic fondness for each other, it did serve to clear the air between us, and we hugged before going into the Tanner house.

The prospect of a Port Alberni confrontation did serve to keep us together. We approach it as David must have when approaching Goliath. But David had his slingshot. What do we have? With what do we vanquish such inhuman enemy, even just to keep ourselves from harm? Is it just our faith in the humaneness of those who revel in the joy of killing? I feel ill-equipped, even unequipped, to do the job.

1996-06-09 Field Journal #4 @ Qualicum Beach

From the field journal of Anthony Marr

June 9, 1996, Sunday

[11:04 @ Annette and Scott Tanner’s home in Qualicum Beach]

Today is to be spent mostly on the phone to advance book speaking engagements in the interior and to develop contacts. We can’t afford to have too many of these off days, but from an organizing point of view, today would be more constructive off than on, and if used efficiently, this off day can be used to generate many on days. In other words, today is not going to be an off day at all, just no driving.

Last night, I slept from 23:00 to 08:30. After weeks on 4-5 hours of sleep per night on average, finally I enjoyed a full night of uninterrupted rest. I have no idea how I’ve had so little sleep, compounded with the flu, and could still function to capacity these last few days. People are said to be able to perform super-normally under immense stress situations, maybe the pressure of hunter confrontation is actually doing me a favour. Anyway, I should be more on par today than yesterday.

Like Anita and Wayne, Diana and Eric, Cathy and George, Annette and Scott live in a uniquely beautiful house amidst a lovely garden, and specific to Annette and Scott’s, a panoramic view of the Juan de Fuca Strait to boot, and all have hospitality to spare. As usual, I offer to Erica the better bed, but in this house, even the lesser bed is wondrous, lying under a roof of glass, beyond which are the stars.

I must not take these people’s hospitality for granted. It has to be earned. So far, we’ve been earning it, that’s all.

[18:32] Just came back from a long walk with Annette and Scott, and their female Boxer Jessie. The Tanner are as lovely a couple as the other three, but Scott is the only plane crash survivor among them. It was last August, in broad day light. With him was environmentalist John Nelson, and wildlife photographer Myron Kozak, some of whose Kermode bear images grace the walls of WCWC. They were on an air reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of Strathcona Park, when their plane entered a box canyon and could not turn around. It slammed into the trees on the steep side of the canyon. The pilot, a veteran in his seventies, was killed instantly. Myron, who was in the co-pilot seat, was also killed, reportedly instantly, but according to Scott, not. Scott said that Myron stayed alive and conscious, and screamed and groaned, and repeated the phrase “too much pressure”, and expired only after the rescue team had arrived. John Nelson , who shared the back seat with Scott, suffered a broken ankle, and limped out for help. Scott sustained a broken leg, two crushed vertebrae, a cracked pelvis, split sternum, and other internal injuries, but managed to drag himself out of the wreck, in which process he was soaked with gasoline. Both Scott and John tried to extricate Myron but to no avail.

To this day, Scott has a limp, and has to wear a leg brace, but did walk the same distance as did Annette and I. Scott, who is a house-painting contractor, just began to get back to work in May. He believes that he survived for a reason, and I can see that reason in him clear as daylight.