November MLA Report

42

Like so many of you, I was incredibly saddened to learn that Bear 148 was killed by a hunter in B.C. in late September.

Bear 148 was a fixture in the Bow Valley, beloved by many in Banff and Canmore who respected and admired her from a distance. Now that she’s gone, many of us are struggling to come to terms with her death.

When Bear 148 was moved in late July, many people contacted me to share their anger, frustration, and concern for 148’s wellbeing. We had frank conversations about patterns of behaviour in the Canmore area, about how Bear 148’s habits and temperament fit into that, and what else could have been done to save a bear that the community had come to love.

I took those discussions as the beginning of something bigger. I’ve continued to meet with concerned citizens to find ways to better manage wildlife in the area, to improve communication internally and with the public. Together with the Town of Canmore, we’ve moved from conversations with different governments to the formation of a technical group. It won’t stop there.

As we move forward, I’ll continue to listen and talk with constituents. It’s important we continue to ask tough questions, but crucial we make sure they’re productive questions as well. I don’t think second-guessing motives helps us move forward. This wasn’t an easy situation to manage. The Bow Valley is a challenging place and we need to get people on board to find ways forward for the future.

The Bow Valley community cared about Bear 148, collectively turning a number into a name. It’s little consolation to note that the new BC government has already promised to ban trophy hunting by the end of November. It’s also easy to forget that in recent generations, we’ve seen incredible transformations in attitudes towards wildlife.

I take these things as encouraging signs that we can do better in the future. Come talk to me. Join me. Let’s work together on this.

Sincerely,

Cam Westhead

MLA for Banff-Cochrane

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