Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1996-05-08 "Chinese Canadian seeking province-wide anti-bear-hunting referendum"

May 8, 1996, Wed.
Ming Pao Daily News, p. A1, top article
by Eric Chan
(translated from Chinese)

Chinese Canadian seeking province-wide anti-bear-hunting referendum

Chinese Canadian environmentalist Anthony Marr is starting an Initiative Petition drive as a first step towards a subsequent province-wide referendum to ban sport/trophy/recreational hunting of BC’s Grizzly bear and the Black bear. If the petition goes to referendum, it would become the second provincial referendum in Canadian history after the recent Quebec referendum, and the first ever generated by the general public.

According to BC’s new Recall and Initiative Act (1995), any individual or organization can start a referendum. The procedure is first to conduct an “Initiative Petition” in all the 75 electoral districts of the province. Within a designated 90-day period, the “proponent” must obtain signatures from at least 10% of the registered voters of each and every electoral district without exception. The would amount to approximately 220,000 signatures in total throughout the province. If subsequently it goes to referendum, or “Initiative Vote”, a 50%+ support vote from all BC’s registered voters in total, and a 50%+ support vote from at least two-thirds of the 75 electoral districts, would be required to win.

Anthony Marr, Western Canada Wilderness Committee’s leader of the BET”R (bear, elephant, tiger $ rhino) campaign, hopes to employ this provision to ban the currently legal recreational/trophy hunting of both the Grizzly and Black bears.

Two previous events gave Marr confidence in the viability of the project. The first is that WCWC, in a previous petition for the protection of Clayoquot Sound, obtained 130,000 signatures from 64 electoral districts. The second is an Angus Reed poll commissioned by the environmental group Bear Watch in 1995, where 91% of those polled opposed the hunting of the Black bear when the purpose is to obtain only the head and hide (trophy) of the animal, and 78% supported the outright banning of bear hunting.

Marr is currently preparing for an 8-week, 12,000 km province-wide road tour to visit all of BC’s electoral districts. His proposed itinerary contains meetings with a broad range of environmental groups, some of which will take on the responsibility to collect signatures in their own electoral districts. He plans to start the tour in early June to network with these groups and to organize the petition. The 90-day petition period has been slated for September to December.

Marr says that as a result of a recent CBC newscast on the project, he has already received phone calls from various parts of the province where people offered help and lodging. He calculates that if the roar tour is entirely self-funded by WCWC, it would cost upwards of $50,000, but with help from various groups, it could be as low as $10,000. . . .

Marr understands that even to satisfy the requirements of this first petition stage would not be easy. Several such efforts on other issues have been tried in BC since last summer, but they have all failed. But even if this project fails, the initiative petition process would generate much media coverage and public awareness, as well as put pressure to bear on the government.

Marr, as well as WCWC campaign coordinator Joe Foy, consider killing bears for pleasure and ego a “barbaric practice”.

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