The Vancouver Sun is reporting that Adam Olsen is committing to going further than
BC Green Party policy in opposing the grizzly bear trophy hunt. This came up during the campaign with many people on social media suggesting that Andrew Weaver supported the hunt in some form because he backed a bill to force hunters to pack the meat home after shooting a grizzly, with others suggesting Weaver was opposed to trophy hunting of grizzly bears and backed the bill as a de facto ban since it would make it unappealingly difficult for hunters who just wanted a head or a carcass.
It’s estimated that about 25% of all of North America’s grizzly bears live in British Columbia, as they’ve been driven out or hunted to extinction in many other areas. Several hundred grizzly bears are legally hunted each year, with dozens believed illegally hunted, and some killed under “animal control” (which is sometimes a desperate bear after a bad winter, but which sounds to me to be synonymous for expansion of human communities into traditional grizzly bear territory, which hardly seems like the bear’s fault, but I digress).
This is the beginning of an interesting era. We now have a Green caucus of three and they’re not necessarily always going to agree with each other, or with party policy. And that’s a good thing. I have long supported political parties that promise not to regularly “whip” their members into voting along party lines, so Adam’s pronouncement that he intends to go further than party policy in how he votes is an important and very positive step. Adam’s first duty is to his constituents, not to party policy. My opinion is that the role of an elected official is to be an expert on the issues and to try to convince their constituents of the wisdom of their opinion but, should they fail, to vote as they’re told by their constituents (or if their conscience can’t countenance it, step aside and let another person be elected to do it). Since polls suggest a huge majority of British Columbians oppose grizzly trophy hunting, this appears to be a promising step in that direction.