B.C. hunting guide seeks class-action lawsuit in battle over grizzly hunting ban

The suit says government knew its decision would harm people directly employed by 245 guide outfitting businesses

The operator of a guide outfitting company has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the British Columbia government over the ban on grizzly bear hunting.

Ron Fleming, owner of Love Bros. & Lee, is seeking compensation for all B.C. guide outfitting businesses allegedly harmed by the hunting ban.

The lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court names the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the minister, Doug Donaldson, alleging the province inappropriately closed the hunt over public opinion and for political or social reasons.

The statement of claim alleges the government knew its decision would harm the 2,000 people directly employed by 245 guide outfitting businesses, especially those with licences to hunt grizzlies or who lost business when the ban was announced in 2017.

READ MORE: Grizzly bear trophy hunt to end Nov. 30

The lawsuit says prior to the ban, fewer than two per cent of the bears in B.C. were hunted each year and the number of grizzlies has been increasing across the province.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and a statement of defence has not been filed.

The provincial government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

First Nations who hunt for treaty rights or for food, social and ceremonial reasons were exempted from the ban.

When it went into effect, Donaldson said it was “no longer socially acceptable to the vast majority of British Columbians to hunt grizzly bears.”

Environment Minister George Heyman also cited research suggesting the economic impact of bear viewing is far greater than hunting, both for revenue and job creation.

The statement of claim says there was no government consultation about shutting down the hunt with guides, resident hunters or First Nations. It asks for financial compensation for damages.

Chad Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government, which represents the Tahltan and Iskut First Nations, says in a news release they support the legal action.

“It has hurt our people culturally, economically and put many of British Columbia’s communities and dwindling ungulate and salmon populations at further risk,” Day says.

The court must first approve the class-action before it would be allowed to continue.

The statement of claim says hunters pay as much as US$25,000 for a guided grizzly bear hunt and when the ban was announced, many outfitters had to cancel bookings already confirmed by deposit for dates into 2021.

The court document says there are approximately 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia, about 25 per cent of the entire grizzly population in North America, and that the number of the bears has remained stable for the last two decades.

It says government data shows hunting of up to nine per cent of some grizzly populations is sustainable and that the Ministry of Forests does not have the authority under the Wildlife Act to regulate grizzly hunts “outside the scope of proper wildlife management.”

The statement of claim seeks a court order certifying a class-action lawsuit, requests damages for negligent representation and for “knowingly acting when they had no lawful reason to stop the grizzly bear hunt on wildlife management or First Nations grounds.”

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

Const. Graham Walker of the Saanich Traffic Safety Unit recreates an incident involving a driver who police say attempted to film the scene of a crash while driving up Highway 17. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police track down driver caught filming accident scene on Pat Bay Highway

Driver issued $368 ticket, points on their licence

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

Sooke man Rik Downer spent two weeks in the Royal Jubilee Hospital after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Sooke man’s bumped knee leads to fight for life

Man unknowingly contracts case of rare flesh-eating disease

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read