Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1996-06-08 Field Journal #3 @ Nanaimo

From the field journal of Anthony Marr

June 8, 1996, Sat.

[15:44 @ George and Cathy Gibson’s residence in Nanaimo]

Yesterday’s event in Tofino, organized by a woman named Marika, was the most successful so far, with about 40 people attending, and zero hunters as far as I could tell. We signed up easily 25 people as volunteer canvassers on the spot, who also took application forms to pass on to their friends. A young Indian maiden named Giselle – probably of Nuu Chah Nulth stock since I was walking their ancestral land – gave me a feather as a reward.

After my presentation, Julie Draper - one of the Bear Watch founders, gave a short speech and showed a short video called Fun Kill. Julie, however, didn’t seem all that friendly. Nothing overt, just my gut feeling. Perhaps my presentation took up too much of hers in terms of time, or maybe I was viewed as having stolen her thunder. One way or another, Bear Watch did infuse about $10,000 start-up funds for the project back a few weeks, and I suppose they are entitled to have some say in the matter.

Speaking of Bear Watch, it is a bit of a sensitive issue. Bear Watch is what is known as a direct act group, and WCWC is not. Direct action may involve doing something illegal, such as disrupting a legal hunt, which Bear Watch has been known to do. They would follow the hunters into logging roads and, when the hunters made ready to shoot a bear, the Bear Watch people would blast their car horns or blow their whistles to scare away the bear. Recently, however, just last week or two as a matter of fact, it back fired on them. A group of four Bear Watch women were lured into a secluded spot near Campbell River and surrounded by hunter vehicles so they could not escape, and a hunter jumped on their hood and smashed their wind shield with an axe handle. The women kept their car doors locked and video-taped the proceedings from the inside. The footage was later aired on BCTV. In a similar incident which happened in Campbell River near a police station, the police was said to have declined a plea for help by Bear Watch when called upon. Campbell River, being farther north, is a hunter dominated town.

When WCWC sat down with Bear Watch’s Jan Theunisz to discuss terms of the Bear Watch donation, Jan suggested that we don’t publicize it and keep WCWC and Bear Watch separate in the public eye, for tactical reasons. This made it a little awkward for me, because deep in my heart, I applaud what Bear Watch does, but on the other hand, could not publicly condone their illegal or legally-borderline activities. So, several times, especially in Campbell River, when hunters questioned me regarding WCWC’s involvement with Bear Watch, I disclaimed personal involvement with Bear Watch, which was true. It was also true to the extent that Bear Watch is not directly involved in the campaign. I greatly admire what they do, but my role in bear protection is the Bear Referendum champion.

Billeting was arranged by a 21 year old woman volunteer and member of Friends of Clayoquot Sound called Dana, to be at the Friends’ office. I am honour, because this requires a certain amount of trust. WCWC’s office, for example, is full of inside information not for public consumption.


June 8, 1996, Sat.
The Nanaimo Free Press
by Paul Walton

Wildlife group campaigns for referendum to ban bear hunting

Convinced that BC bears will one day make the endangered species list, activists are beginning a campaign for a referendum, which would ban hunting the animals in the province. As part of a world campaign to save endangered animals, the road tour of Anthony Marr, wildlife campaigner of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, will visit Nanaimo next week...

The WCWC’s call for a referendum comes shortly after protests this near near Campbell River when several people were arrested for disturbing the hunt. Last year, protesters with Bear Watch successfully opposed an injunction to limit protests in the area. Marr said that WCWC does not engage in civil disobedience, and sees his role as that of a communicator and a facilitator.

“The purpose of this road tour is to set up the infrastructure for the referendum,” he said.

... Although the intention is to ban all bear hunting, WCWC director Paul George said this is not the beginning of a ban on all hunting...

No comments:

Post a Comment