New polling suggests rural-urban divide over BC grizzly hunt a myth

Photo credit: Sam Edmonds

Photo credit: Sam Edmonds

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - For years, the BC Liberals have written off the vast majority of residents in the province for their opposition to the grizzly bear hunt. In an attempt to divert attention away from this unethical slaughter, they have perpetuated the myth that a rural-urban divide exists on the issue – this could not be further from the truth.

This morning, Insights West and the Commercial Bear Viewing Association released polling data that suggests the majority of British Columbians living in rural ridings oppose the trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Specifically, the percentage of voters who are opposed to the trophy hunting of grizzly bears stands at 81% in Kamloops North Thompson, 79% in Boundary Similkameen, 78% in Fraser Nicola, 66% in Caribou North and 65% in Kootenay East.

As the BC Liberals’ justifications for the grizzly bear hunt continue to be challenged, we can expect them to fall back on their so-called, “sound science“, which is highly contested.

The province’s grizzly population numbers themselves are a point of debate, with government scientists relying heavily on an outdated and flawed population model that is believed to overestimate grizzly numbers. While they argue there are roughly 15,000 grizzlies throughout BC, independent scientists believe there could be as few as 6,000-8,000. Grizzlies have already been extirpated from roughly 18% of their original habitat across the province and 9 sub-populations are currently threatened with extirpation. Furthermore, a recent study found that the provincial government is failing to keep grizzly bear mortalities below its own targets. This combination of factors threatens to wipe out this iconic and ecologically-significant species. 

Ultimately, science itself, even if it were to be sound, doesn’t equate to permission to kill grizzly bears. In a province where 91% of residents are united in their opposition to the grizzly bear hunt, should our government be allowed to continue to ignore such strong and clear disapproval? Are they not obligated to represent the people?

As residents of British Columbia, we should question why the BC Liberals have consistently tried to dodge this issue and attempt to divide urban and rural voters. With an election on the horizon, we have an opportunity to make our voices heard. Utilize our new #TrophyFreeBC toolkit and join us in calling for a complete and total ban on BC’s grizzly bear hunt – contact Premier Christy Clark, your MLA and those running in your riding and let them know you will be voting for the party that commits to banning the hunt, once and for all.