Former North Island Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant, who is currently the NDP Candidate for the Oak Bay – Gordon Head area, took aim back in December at the provincial government’s commissioned report on the trophy bear hunt, and the Auditor General’s office has now responded to his critique via email.
“Thank you for your email of December 27, 2016 in which you have provided your comments and thoughts on a BC Government released document titled ‘The Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest Management System in British Columbia’,” wrote Auditor General, Carol Bellringer. “The document that you have provided has been received with interest, and passed on to the audit team for their consideration during the course of their work.”
When asked to comment, Casavant replied he is “very relieved that the Auditor General is taking this grizzly bear issue seriously, and I am satisfied with the response I have received.”
Casavant is best known as the former North Island conservation officer who was fired after refusing orders to kill two orphaned bear cubs, Jordan and Athena, who were rehabilitated and released back into the wild in June of 2016.
“The protection and conservation of our wildlife will always be a top priority for me,” confirmed Casavant. “While difficult decisions are sometimes made in wildlife management, failing to adopt the pre cautionary principle with grizzly bear populations is a fundamental failure of common sense. It is yet another example of environmental miss-management.”
Casavant, a current Doctoral student with Royal Roads University and a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who served in Afganistan, stated in his publicly released critique on the commissioned report that there is significant flaws in the government report which could negatively influence provincial grizzly bear policy.
“Purposefully excluding our academics and universities from wildlife research opportunities, and hiring people from outside the province to write a report that justifies a political platform position, is nothing more than an abuse of public funds and science for sale,” said Casavant, who added he is looking forward to the Auditor General’s investigation being completed. “I would like to see continued public engagement on this topic through the election cycle.”
Casavant publicly stated back in December that significant concerns exist pertaining to grizzly bear population estimates. “This ‘scientific review’ was authored by two individuals from Alberta and one individual from the United States. There were no contributions from BC scientists or First Nations and the document was not peer reviewed or sanctioned by a University.”
Casavant is currently running in the riding of Oak Bay – Gordon Head. He has been endorsed by the NDP’s John Horgan.
The Green Party’s Andrew Weaver has stated he displays principles and integrity.
“It is very exciting to be endorsed by two party leaders and I am hoping that Christy Clark comes forward and endorses me as well,” said Casavant. “It would really be a confidence boost after the way I was treated over saving the bear cubs Jordan and Athena.”