Premier Christy Clark was sworn in as British Columbia’s 35th premier on March 14th, promising a new era of consultation that will put BC’s families first.
Though Christy Clark is not known for strong stances on the environment, what is clear is that the environment is a family values issue and protecting the spirit bear is a priority for BC families, with more than 85 percent of the province supporting its conservation.
After a decade of incremental progress on the issue, it will be up to Premier Clark and her newly announced cabinet to take the steps needed to create a sanctuary for the spirit bear.
For the new administration, Hon. Steve Thomson – Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations – will have the lead role in shaping the two major policies that will determine the fate of the spirit bear: trophy hunting (wildlife management) and land protection (land use planning and forestry operations).
Along with Minister Thomson, Minister Terry Lake (ministry of environment) and Minister Mary Polak (ministry of aboriginal relations and reconciliation) will also have a say in the debate surrounding the spirit bear; as will those sitting on the Environment and Land Use Committee: Minister Thomson, Minister Lake, Murray Coell, Rich Coleman, Eric Foster, Randy Hawes, Kash Heed, Don McRae, and Pat Pimm.
Bottom line: Premier Clark’s new cabinet provides a clean slate for the spirit bear and new opportunities for leadership on this issue.
The Spirit Bear Youth Coalition is asking everyone who cares about the future of this bear to please take a moment and write Premier Clark, Minister Thomson, and, if you live in BC, your MLA to voice your support for the creation of a sanctuary for the spirit bear for BC families and, indeed, families globally.
If we can protect the final, unprotected third of the spirit bear’s last intact ecosystem (Green-Sheep Passage/Tolmie Operating Area) and stop the coastal bear trophy hunt, especially in protected areas, we will create the necessary sanctuary to ensure the survival of this endangered animal.