There has been a major change at the BC Legislature, contrary to the vision of the
pundits: NDP 57 seats, BC Liberals 28 and Green Party 2.
A cursory examination of the curriculum vitae of Premier John Horgan and a few of
his cabinet colleagues gives some hope that science not partisan politics will emerge in
at least some small way in the future management of the forests, grasslands, wildlife,
water and parks.
Hope springs eternal so maybe some management changes will be significant but
remember the Canadian curse that drives natural resource management never goes away:
Jobs, economy, health care.
A quote by former NDP Premier, Dan Miller re-enforces my image of John Horgan as
an alpha male I spoke to three times.
“In January 2014, former Premier Dan Miller, who’d once employed Horgan in his
office, went on Vaughn Palmer’s voice of BC Television Show to add his voice to those
who wanted to draft Horgan back into the race.
“I think he’d be the perfect guy” said Miller. He looks good. He’s a stand up guy.
He looks you in the eye. He is a straight shooter. When I was Premier and I was in a
jam and had a caucus that was bitterly divided in at least three ways, the guy I brought in
to help was John Horgan.”
The Inside Story of the Political Battle For B.C. by Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman
Premier John Horgan describes himself as a passionate big male. In reality he is a
passionate big alpha male. He is outspoken and doesn’t run from a fight. The Premier
often describes himself as a former lacrosse player. The sports venue/arena is often
where men and women hone their character and learn to deal with adversity.
I spoke to John Horgan briefly three times. The first time at the BC Liberal
Convention in Kelowna August 2011. In a short conversation I reminded him that I had
convinced former Sierra Club chair, Vicky Husband to sit beside me at a meeting with
the NDP Rural Caucus at the BC Legislature the third week of February 2009.
John quickly acknowledged that he knew Vicky, after all she lives in his riding and
has a reputation as a fighter with strong opinions.
John Horgan and his political partner, Carol James spoke at a meeting in Grand Forks
when the party was in opposition. I don’t recall the date, probably June 2016.
At the meeting Horgan said he had been an understudy to Premier Mike Harcourt.
Let’s hope Premier Horgan and his cabinet colleagues have a meaningful connection to
former NDP Premier Harcourt Government’s Commission on Resources and
Environment Overview October, 1994.
The BC Legislature created CORE by statute (The Commission on Resources and
Environment Act) in July, 1992 for three primary reasons:
• to ensure the sustainability of a natural resource based economy after a
century of increasingly intense resource extraction and sustainability of the
ecosystems that support all economic and non-economic activities in the province.
• To increase the level of meaningful public participation in land use and
resource management decisions.
• To address aboriginal concerns about land and resource use on the traditional
territories of First Nations.
I had a short conversation with the Premier in Osoyoos June 2018. I agreed with the
Premier’s assessment of forest management. He hired former Dawson Creek Mayor and
former BC Liberal Cabinet Minister Blair Lekstrom to try and resolve the caribou
restoration logging jobs issue. The backdrop to the conversation was the longstanding
grim logging practices.
I also reminded the Premier that First Nation Chief John Henderson and his First
Nation colleagues had a conservative First Nation, outfitter, resident hunter harvest that
has resulted in a healthy elk herd in which older males are well represented, an
extremely rare event in the modern era of management in B.C.
Horgan opts for stability, keeps veterans in key cabinet posts- Andrew Macleod, The
Tyee.CA November 27, 2020.
“A half dozen veteran ministers were shifted into new jobs. Selina Robinson moved
to finance, Katrine Conroy to Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and
Rural Development and Rob Fleming going to Transportation and Infrastructure.”
B.C. returning to stand-alone Forests, Rural Development Ministry, Horgan says
Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work- Tom Fletcher, Nov. 27, 2020.
The B.C. Ministry with the biggest name and footprint in provincial history is being
broken up as part of a reform of rural resource development, Premier John Horgan says.
Newly elected Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen has been assigned the task of reorganizing
what is now officially known as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource
Operations and Rural development into two government departments. That will leave
Kootenay West MLA, Katrine Conroy with a focus on forests and rural
development as B.C.’s first female forests minister.
Cullen, a long time northwest B.C.MP was appointed “Minister of State” or assistant
to Conroy, will likely end up in charge of the vast crown lands and resource roads
that wind through them.
“When we were sworn in 2017, it was my desire to have a stand-alone ministry of
forests, something that the former B.C. Liberals had rolled into what is now one of the
most unwielding ministries within government”, Horgan said after revealing his new
cabinet lineup Nov. 26. “Minister Cullen’s job, working with Minister Conroy is to
dis-aggregate that, and take component parts and move them to where they might
be better utilized”.
On the Sunday a day before Premier John Horgan dropped the writ for the November
3, 2020 election I had a phone conversation with Katrine Conroy.
Much of the conversation was about her husband’s accident and his subsequent death.
At the end of the conversation I reminded Katrine that regardless of cabinet decisions I
know where her heart is.
Katrine was the MLA for the Boundary (Castlegar, Trail and Grand Forks) 2005-
- Not long after the election I met her and subsequently encouraged her to
accompany me on a field trip on Gilpin to sell my argument in support of A Wildlife
A field trip showcasing the waterholes and erosion is going to take at least 2 1/2-3
hours and by that time her staff was concerned about her welfare.
The third week of February 2009 Katrine arranged a meeting with the NDP Rural
Caucus at the BC Legislature in Victoria in which I made a pitch for the “Draft
Management Plan July 2008 Proposed Gilpin-Morrissey Wildlife Management Area”. I
convinced veteran Sierra Club voice, Vicky Husband to sit beside me at the meeting.
The Draft Management Plan was prepared by the Okanagan Region Environmental
Stewardship Division. A long title for the work of park planner, Keith Baric with
support from BC Liberal Minister of Environment Barry Penner.
I had a meeting with Katrine at her constituency office in Castlegar and convinced her
to come to Rock Creek and listen to hunters and concerned citizens.
The meeting December 1st. 2016 at the Rock Creek Wildlife Hall with Katrine Conroy
and her husband, Ed was attended by 35 rural British Columbians fed up with wildlife
management, that point was made by the consensus on nine questions I asked the
audience, seven to preface the meeting and two later.
I introduced Katrine Conroy who was the MLA for the Boundary-Trail Castlegar and
Grand Forks 2005-2009 and reminded everyone that she represented her constituents, in
other words getting a government response to questions or issues important to
Katrine had the hunting file and spoke to hunters in other parts of the province that
consequently resulted in Bill M 217-2016 Sustainable Wildlife Management Act 2016:
The Bill would establish a round table to carry out collaborative planning with First
Nations and stakeholder groups. Conservation of fish, wildlife and habitat will be a
priority when planning for land and water activities in British Columbia. It will ensure
adequate funding goes toward the management of wildlife habitat by establishing a
Needless to say, the BC Liberal Government had no interest in supporting Katrine’s
Lana Popham is the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. The Minister’s
mandate letter priorizes six items but for the sake of brevity and interest the mandate
letter to the Parliamentary Secretary gets your attention:
Lead work with the federal government to develop new strategies to protect and
revitalize B.C.’s wild salmon populations, including by working to double the size of
Salmon Restoration and Innovation in Fisheries and ensuring processing of B.C.-caught
Work with the Minister of State for Lands and Narural Resource Operations and the
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to step up protection of fish
habitat through our biodiversity strategy and the new Watershed Security Strategy.
Minister Popham is instructed to work closely and ensure the Parliamentary Secretary
receives appropriate support.
Minister Popham and her Parliamentary Secretary’s mandate to revitalize B.C.’s wild
salmon populations and to step up protection of fish was strengthened thanks to Dept. Of
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette recent news release:
“Acting on the wishes of seven First Nations in the Discovery Islands, Department of
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan has not renewed fish farm licenses in
the Discovery Islands but ordered the phase out of all 19 Atlantic Salmon Feedlots
owned by Norwegian- based companies. That means juvenile salmon will not have to
run through a gauntlet of fish farms and their parasites along one of the province’s wild
salmon migration routes.”
The Tyee: To-day’s federal government decision to close Discovery Island fish farms
offers some hope forthright.
Minister Popham has a history of being candid, forthright and as a result as
Agriculture Minister in the 2017 Coalition NDP/Green Party Government she wrote a
letter threatening to discontinue provincial permits for a coastal fish farm.
The resulting furor has resulted in a much more contrite minister but nevertheless a
strong voice in Cabinet on behalf of sustainable scientific management of natural
I will send you pictures in the New Year, all of which tell a story.
Barry Brandow Sr.