Part II - Bear referendum
Chapter 20 - On Whose Authority
July 1, 1996, Monday, cloudy and clam in Terrace
[12:06 @ Judy Chrysler’s and Kelly Kline’s residence]
I’m writing this in Judy’s and Kelly’s sun room. They have many bird feeders placed all over their lake-shore backyard, which attract many species of birds including blue jays, pine siskines, humming birds, and squirrels. In the winter, Lakelse Lake freezes over, and Judy established a feeding program for about 100 trumpeter swans which cost them $20 per day over 4 months. They also have 3 cats, 2 of which being of the self-invited variety. She is an animal lover of low key but high order.
[17:09 @ Judy’s and Kelly’s residence]
Kelly took me out on the lake in his ocean-going kayak. We paddled to the north end of the lake, then southwards along the opposite shore. Judy video-taped the embarkation of this my virgin voyage in a kayak. Loved its smoothness and effortless speed. We made a couple of landfalls to check out some new construction sites. Kelly told me that this kayak has some history behind it. During Exp. ‘86, its original owner and his 15 year old daughter paddled it from Kitimat to Vancouver in 3 months. It would be a very different passage on the open Pacific than on this sheltered lake. So, I was in the seat of the 15 year old girl, now 25. After a feat like that, what does she do for an encore?
I consider myself exceedingly fortunate to cross paths with such extraordinary human beings, and at such an incredible frequency of several every day during this road tour. Some people don’t encounter one such great person even in a lifetime!
July 2, 1998, Tuesday, sun & cloud, showers en route from Terrace to Prince George
[00:30 (960703/3), back @ Carolyn & Elden Lynden’s residence]
As predicted, it was a very busy day, and there is a first - the first time I’ve interacted with a native band. Met with and gave a slideshow and video presentation to Cecil Paul Jr. and an elder, 10:00-11:00, at the Natalika Institute in Kitimat. Cecil occasionally exclaimed “Jesus!” when I got to the graphic parts regarding various mistreatments of animals, especially bears. By the end of the presentation, they pledged their support.
Left the cell phone behind at the Institute and didn’t realize this until I was well on my way back to Terrace and had to turn around to retrieve it. Cecil welcomed me back and said that he had already spoken with some others, and was keen on helping out with the referendum. He also asked for a copy of the video that I showed them – re. Global bear parts trade; I promised him in August. I also asked for a letter of recommendation to access other native bands. So, leaving the cell phone there seemed a twist of fate leading to better results.
Media-wise, the following:
- finalized article on the phone with Paul Anderson of the Prince Rupert This Week (SWN 9,000),
- in person interview with David Taylor of the Terrace Standard (VCC 7,988)
- in person interview with Jennifer Lange of the Terrace Times, with photo
- in person interview with Mary Vallis of Kitimat’s Northern Sentinel (CIRC 2,500)
- dropped press package to Patty Edgar of Smither’s Interior News (VCC 4,319)
Didn’t leave Terrace till about 17:00 to head back tp Prince George. Arrived back at the Lyndens’ close to midnight, not half an hour ago.
Tony Bennet left his heart in San Francisco, but I left things all over the place. The cell phone I’ve already mentioned, and then my blue towel and alarm clock at the Kopelmans’, and my bath robe, polo sweater shirt and black shorts at Judy Chrysler’s. At this rate I’ll be naked by the end of the tour!
July 3, 1996, Wed.
by Mary Vallis
Bear hunt ban call
Anthony Marr wants to see BC’s bear populations protected. But he wants to eliminate sport hunting as a means to that end.
Marr, a campaigner of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, visited Prince Rupert last week as a stop in his cross-province road tour to gather support for a public referendum on outlawing Grizzly and Black bear hunting in BC.
“It is perverted for people to kill for pleasure,” Marr maintains. “One hunter said that they customarily train their kids to kill some animal before their age of 10 - to ‘hook them for life’. I find this obscene; they are corrupting the moral of their children.”...
Par Bare, chairman of the Kitimat Rod and Gun Club, thinks the referendum is unnecessary. “It’s not only for sport,” he pointed out. “We eat what we kill.”
Marr says that according to a survey done in the 1980s, 99% of the hunters who kill Grizzly bears and 80%+ of those who kill Black bears do so for the trophy - head and hide - only. “It is true that bear hunters are required by law to take out the meat as well as the trophy, but they have been heard to complain that the meat is too heavy to pack for long distances over rough terrain.
Further, the law is not due to them, but to Bear Watch, which hunters love to hate. A few year ago, some Bear Watch members came across a skinned carcass of a bear, retrieved it and dumped it in front of the legislature. That was how that law started. Many trophy hunters just dumped the meat after packing it out. Besides, the Asians use other parts of the bear too besides the gall bladder and paws. Does this make it right?”
Nor does Bare think that Black bear population is in danger. “I can go along the Kitimat road and see half a dozen Black bears on my way to Terrace,” he pointed out.
Marr said the scope of the Bear Referendum is not local but province wide, involving a global trend. “It is true that bear populations are more intact in the north than in the south. The problem with poaching is that it is not a uniform phenomenon. Poachers pick on the more accessible one first. Many southern locales have had their Black bears poached out of existence. Even so, poaching reports have reached me from as far north as Fort Nelson.”
On Grizzly bear conservation Marr says, “The BC government’s strategy openly states that no more than 4% of the population is to be taken per year from all sources. Even if this is sound, which I believe is too high, legal killings already account for the 4%. If we add in poaching and other unreported kills, we could be losing upwards of 8%, which is absolutely unsustainable.”
However, avid bear hunter Peggy Bare says a ban is not the solution to the problem. “What they need is better enforcement. The only way poaching is going to stop is if you nail them and don’t let them get away like they are now.”...
Marr’s views may get a sympathetic hearing in urban areas where recreational hunting isn’t a common pastime, but in rural districts like Skeena, he may have a problem finding support...
July 3, 1998, Wednesday, cloudy with showers en route from Prince George to Fort St.
[00:40 (960704/4) @ Don Friske’s house]
Another high powered day. Lots done plus lots of driving.
Made a whole bunch of phone calls this morning to the media of Peace River electoral district, which is way up the north-east corner of the vast province – a far cry from Victoria just a week ago. Media contacted and booked include:
- the Chetwynd Echo (Rick Davidson),
- the Dawson Creek Block News (Jeremy Hainsworth, SWN 10,688),
- the Fort Saint John Alaska Highway News (Tom Wilkinson, Tanya Wilson, ABC 3,168), and
-the Fort Nelson News (Judith Kenyon, VCP 2,012)
Driving-wise, I didn’t leave Prince George until 12:30, and didn’t arrive at Fort St. John till around 18:00 for the 19:00 presentation.
The presentation was attended by only 6 supporters: Andrine Morse (organizer), Don Friske (billeting host), Marjorie (Don’s tenant, a older native woman), a woman named Joan Hendrix, and Tanya Wilson of the Alaska Highway News (with camera), and about 30 hunters. Signed up all 6.
Had a warm chat with Don and Marjorie back at his place. Don is a dental technologist, 30ish, tall and lean and good looking, medium long hair, trimmed full beard, serious yet easy going. He and Majorie treated me to a home-cooked dinner when I first arrived around 18:00. Andrine came by for coffee or “something”, and “something” it was. She is Irish Danish, with perhaps a light touch of native blood, 38, 5’8”, medium build, pretty to beautiful face depending on your point of view, very warm, green and “spiritual”, and works for the Dept. of Indian Affairs. I sense an undertone of attraction between Don and her. Both are potential friends for me.
But one thing I know. Peace River is about as far from Vancouver as any place in the province can get. Conversely, Vancouver, to a Peace River resident, is way out of town. Don and Andrine may be friendly and welcoming, but the vast majority of the people wouldn’t be. The farther north I go, the more I hear comments like, “Who are you, an outsider from the urban south, to come here to tell us what to do and not to do?”
What I ask them to do is something universal, which therefore includes them: “Please do not kill for pleasure.” But they can never see past the “outsider” filter, nor would they particularly want to even if they could. They want an enemy and they found me.
I can even empathize with them to an extent, but can they empathize with me? Again, would they want to even if they could?
One man said to me in the Port St. John debate, “I’m a Christian, you see. We Christians have a complete set of values already. We don’t need yours, Mr. Marr.”
“I will have you know, sir,” I responded, “that when I was a child, brought up in the Chinese culture, which also had a complete set of values, I was recipient to Christian missionary teachings. What give the West more right to go to the East, than the East going to the West?”
“There is a very important difference, Mr. Marr,” the man gloated as if he had just said, ‘Checkmate!’ “What the Christian missionaries teach is universal. What the Chinese 'teach' is, well Chinese. Besides, the Christian missionaries operate under the authority of the Church. Under whose authority do you come to preach to us?”
Raminothna said within me, and I said aloud, “In matters of the heart, the authority is mine."
The Fortunate and The Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)