Night hunting is a concern in numerous communities. The provincial government is expected to introduce legislation in the coming week to ban the practice. (Submitted by the Manitoba Wildlife Federation)
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister’s unprompted announcement of legislation to ban night hunting, or "spotlighting," is facing some swift and negative reaction from at least one Indigenous organization.
Pallister promised the ban Thursday at the Progressive Conservative party’s spring fundraising gala.
Legislation for the ban is expected to be introduced next Wednesday.
Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization says such legislation would come without proper consultation with Indigenous people about the issue — a constitutional obligation.
"I don’t think they’ve achieved that at all. I think if you go into the First Nations, I think every single one of them is going to say ‘we disagree,’ and they weren’t informed properly of what the time frame was going to be," Daniels told CBC News.
Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires disagrees with the SCO and Grand Chief Daniels. She says there have been extensive consultations with multiple stakeholders. Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires says she has invited stakeholders to a briefing after the night-hunting ban legislation is introduced on Wednesday. (CBC News )
"I have had Grand Chief Jerry Daniels in my office on numerous occasions and I respectfully disagree with him when he states that we have not conducted broad consultations. We understand our constitutional responsibility and we take that responsibility very seriously," Squires said in an interview Friday.
Squires also disputes Daniels’s assertion the government has not reached out to leaders in individual First Nations.
"We took a very, very extensive consultative phase with Grand Chief Jerry Daniels and many of the bands that he represents," Squires says. Controversial practice
Night hunting is a controversial practice in rural communities. At least two people have been killed in recent years by stray bullets fired at night and there have been reports of damage to farm equipment and injuries to livestock shot by night hunters.
Indigenous people have a right — protected by the Constitution Act of 1982 — to hunt for food at night, provided it is done safely and meets certain conditions, including that the hunting is done on reserves, unoccupied Crown land or private land with permission.
Manitoba Metis Federation members voted last year to ban spotlighting.
Daniels says the province has not produced any studies to show night hunting is an unsafe practice and cannot prove there is widespread consensus against it among Indigenous people or their leadership. "People want to make this a race issue. Let’s get past that and focus on solutions,’ says Southern Chiefs’ Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)
The SCO grand chief says leadership on the issue has to start with Premier Brian Pallister.
"What has anybody heard from the premier’s office, and when he is going to start reaching out and start talking to us directly about solutions? People can say what they want, but we need agreements in place," Daniels said."People want to make this a race issue. Let’s get past that and focus on solutions." Wildlife Federation wants ban The Manitoba Wildlife Federation has been working toward a ban on night hunting for at least two years. It has promoted a campaign called "Nightwatch" and has lobbied the province to ban the practice of spotlighting.Federation managing director Brian Kotak says safety, economic losses on agricultural land and slowing the decrease in some animal populations prompted his organization to get involved. A conservation officer moves a decoy deer in rural Manitoba last November. The Manitoba Wildlife Federation is calling on the province to provide funding to add more conservation officers. […]
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