Politis lobbying for Spring Bear Hunt return – by Benjamin Aubé (Timmins Daily Press – June 21, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Another week, another close-call with a curious black bear. A woman in Sudbury was among the latest to report such an encounter this week, rushing the children she was watching over indoors after spotting a stray bear cub roaming the neighbourhood.

It has become a theme in cities across Northern Ontario for a number of years. Many are pointing to the Ontario government’s 1999 cancellation of the Spring Bear Hunt, saying it’s no coincidence bear sightings within city limits seem to keep increasing more than a decade later.

Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis, the Progressive Conservative candidate for Temiskaming-Cochrane riding in the next provincial election, spoke to The Daily Press about the issue. He said something needs to be done soon.

“I’ve been doing a lobby effort to change the way wildlife is managed here in the area, particularly larger animals like bears, which can be fatal to people,” said Politis. “The Spring Bear Hunt is definitely part of that.

“It’s a part of the problem, I really believe that. It’s not the solution, and it’s not the issue causing the problem by itself, but certainly a well-managed hunt is part of creating balance in the ecosystem.

“What most people don’t realize is that us as Northerners here are as much part of the ecosystem as any of the species in it. As a species, we rely on each other to keep that balance.”

Politis said only a specific number of male bears past a certain age were allowed to be shot during the annual hunt – a fact which he said was snuffed out by “extremists” with hidden agendas.

“The way the hunt was managed previously was that there were no female bears legally being shot,” explained Politis. “There were a few maybe that got caught up the process, but very very few. Most people don’t realize that cubs weren’t being orphaned. It was part of a smear campaign that led to a knee-jerk reaction and a bad decision.”

Politis did not shy away from the fact that “bad decision” was made under the leadership of Mike Harris’ Progressive Conservative Party – the very one Politis is currently representing.

“That’s like us going back to the NDP party before Mike Harris and blaming everybody for what Bob Rae did,” said Politis. “We can’t continue looking back decades and decades on history and painting everybody with one brush. I’m hoping that as a party, we recognize the importance of highlighting the progressive, and we start making important decisions going forward that are recognizing we have a large province and there are different cultural zones within it we need to respect.”

Though he said there is some “nervousness around any political fallout” within the Tory party about his stance on the issue, Politis added he gets the sense “there’s a credible and dynamic discussion taking place of what the possibilities are.”

He suggested “the vast, vast majority of Northerners are looking forward to the Spring Bear Hunt being re-introduced.”

“Most people that approach me are adamant about bringing the Spring Bear Hunt back,” explained Politis. “It’s almost gotten to the point where it’s like symbolism. It’s symbolic now of the slippery slope that Northern Ontario has been placed on and the frustration that Northerners are feeling with that. People are feeling it’s high time that as Northerners we start changing that.”

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timminspress.com/2013/06/20/politis-lobbying-for-spring-bear-hunt-return

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