B.C. hunting guide seeks class-action lawsuit in battle over grizzly hunting ban

The suit says government knew its decision would harm people directly employed by 245 guide outfitting businesses

The operator of a guide outfitting company has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the British Columbia government over the ban on grizzly bear hunting.

Ron Fleming, owner of Love Bros. & Lee, is seeking compensation for all B.C. guide outfitting businesses allegedly harmed by the hunting ban.

The lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court names the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the minister, Doug Donaldson, alleging the province inappropriately closed the hunt over public opinion and for political or social reasons.

The statement of claim alleges the government knew its decision would harm the 2,000 people directly employed by 245 guide outfitting businesses, especially those with licences to hunt grizzlies or who lost business when the ban was announced in 2017.

READ MORE: Grizzly bear trophy hunt to end Nov. 30

The lawsuit says prior to the ban, fewer than two per cent of the bears in B.C. were hunted each year and the number of grizzlies has been increasing across the province.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and a statement of defence has not been filed.

The provincial government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

First Nations who hunt for treaty rights or for food, social and ceremonial reasons were exempted from the ban.

When it went into effect, Donaldson said it was “no longer socially acceptable to the vast majority of British Columbians to hunt grizzly bears.”

Environment Minister George Heyman also cited research suggesting the economic impact of bear viewing is far greater than hunting, both for revenue and job creation.

The statement of claim says there was no government consultation about shutting down the hunt with guides, resident hunters or First Nations. It asks for financial compensation for damages.

Chad Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government, which represents the Tahltan and Iskut First Nations, says in a news release they support the legal action.

“It has hurt our people culturally, economically and put many of British Columbia’s communities and dwindling ungulate and salmon populations at further risk,” Day says.

The court must first approve the class-action before it would be allowed to continue.

The statement of claim says hunters pay as much as US$25,000 for a guided grizzly bear hunt and when the ban was announced, many outfitters had to cancel bookings already confirmed by deposit for dates into 2021.

The court document says there are approximately 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia, about 25 per cent of the entire grizzly population in North America, and that the number of the bears has remained stable for the last two decades.

It says government data shows hunting of up to nine per cent of some grizzly populations is sustainable and that the Ministry of Forests does not have the authority under the Wildlife Act to regulate grizzly hunts “outside the scope of proper wildlife management.”

The statement of claim seeks a court order certifying a class-action lawsuit, requests damages for negligent representation and for “knowingly acting when they had no lawful reason to stop the grizzly bear hunt on wildlife management or First Nations grounds.”

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read