PM Harper announces new Hunting & Angling Advisory Panel
By Outdoor Canada Hunting Editor Ken Bailey, at the National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress in Ottawa, May 27 to 31
Prime Minister Stephen Harper stopped in to address the audience at last night’s wind-up banquet at the National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress in Ottawa. Harper was very complimentary towards the efforts required to coordinate the Congress, and the importance and value of the conservation community working together to address common issues.
He touched on his party’s intention to support development while concurrently seeking new and creative ways to protect natural values. Three organizations, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada were singled out for their contributions in providing counsel to government on conservation issues, and for their considerable investments and accomplishments in on-the-ground conservation programs.
Harper touched briefly on the controversial new Fisheries Act, but didn’t get into any detail as Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield and Environment Minister Peter Kent are both slated to address the Congress this morning (stayed tuned for reports). He also touched on his party’s multi-year effort to repeal the long gun registry and the recent success on that front, which drew an enthusiastic, if somewhat predictable, round of applause.
Finally, the Prime Minister also took the opportunity to announce he has created a national Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel that will report directly to the Minister of Environment. No additional details were provided, though it is understood that this panel will include representation from environmental NGOs, the academic community and the provinces. The announcement drew much support and fostered considerable discussion among the crowd as Harper finished his remarks shortly thereafter.
Earlier that afternoon, attendees had broken out into five distinct working groups to address issues of long term importance to conservation. I participated in the workshop titled “Strengthening and Expanding Support, Interest and Participation in Fish and Wildlife Conservation”. This is a very difficult format for achieving meaningful, detailed results, but the group did settle on five key initiatives that should be actioned moving forward:
1. The creation of a national coalition of NGOs to address the broad issues of participation in the outdoors by Canadians
2. Develop a communications/outreach strategy that identifies key target markets, messages, messengers and delivery methods
3. Connect participation in outdoor activities to the benefits to the health of Canadians
4. Build and implement a retention strategy for consumptive users
5. Identify new funding mechanisms in support of these initiatives.
Nothing earth-shaking here, but given the short timeframe provided and the diversity of contributors, I think the workshop served as a very positive platform sharing thoughts. These recommendations will be pooled with those from the other four workshops, then prioritized with the intention that the most important will be collectively pursued moving forward.
To learn more about the National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress, click here.