Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka said his proposed amendments to B.C.’s wildlife act have been seeing bipartisan support from the province’s residents and legislators.
The private members’ bill, named the Wildlife Amendment Act (No.2), aims to create a different revenue source for the province’s wildlife sector.
“It brings forward an independent funding model for wildlife and habitat, at an arm’s length from government,” said Shypitka. “This is so we can incorporate other sources of revenue into this model whether it’s through industry, dedicated taxation or philanthropy. It’s all so we can bring more revenue forward directly for wildlife and habitat so we can make sure we can afford the science and data forward and make the decisions we need.”
Shypitka noted that this is the second time the bill has come forward to the legislature.
He said this is in reaction to a decline in wildlife population, specifically in ungulates.
“The only way we really manage our population is through regulation, which serves only with a four-year political cycle and it’s not always science-based,” said Shypitka. “I want to try to isolate it and separate it. So, bringing in this independent funding model will do just that: it’ll put the money into research with a not-for-profit society that will make uniformed, science-based decisions outside of that political cycle.”
Shypitka added that decisions made under this proposed model would be made with guidance from Indigenous nations and other stakeholders.
The bill has seen support from environmental groups as well as hunters.
“I have yet to hear of one negative reaction to it, whether it’s constituents of our riding or constituents across the province,” said Shypitka.
Even members of the Legislature outside of BC United have reacted positively.
“I’ve spoken to members of the NDP side, Green members, and the Independent. Politically, in the chambers, it’s being well-received,” said Shypitka. “That said, it’s going to take more than good intentions to get this bill moved forward. What it’s going to take now is a unanimous decision from government to bring it to a second reading.”
The bill may not come back up in the legislature for a while.
However, Shypitka is trying to garner support for the proposed amendment to show that B.C.’s residents are in favour of it.
More: Wildlife Amendment Act (No.2) petition (Tom Shypitka)