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John R. Hunt - June 2000 - A CBC 'Morning North' Commentary


A Commentary by - John R. Hunt - June 2000 - CBC

Much of the Northern way of life is so much different than that of the urban dweller.

So much so, that when urban living political and bureaucratic administration reform or create policy, they often do so without understanding the full process they twiddle. When policies or programs change, many unwritten parts of a process are yanked out by less than a full understanding of impact. Such policy makers are indeed, 'out of touch'.

Policy is developed in a 'downtown' setting, without the input of the operations personnel, and the constituent. In private business, this type of policy making is the core motivation that moves people to consider and install management control in the form of a union. Is that where Ontario is headed?

John. R. Hunt, who lives in Cobalt, and presents an opinion feature on CBC Radio's morning show in Northeastern Ontario, considers this below.
- Lark.


After Provincial Downloading - Whose Responsibility Is It?

(With Permission) Copyright John R. Hunt - 2000, All Rights Reserved.

Which is worse?
The growl of a black bear foraging for food, or the stench, and disgusting sight, of a moose carcass rotting by the highway. These are just two of the problems now facing Northerners.

Who is responsible for removing dead carcasses? Who is responsible for capturing hungry bears? Why isn't there a clear-cut policy? Many angry Northerners are asking these questions. They are angry, and frequently frightened by the very large number of bear sightings in towns and villages.

That's right--IN towns and villages. It is downright scary to see a huge black bear in your garden, or on your street. It is terrifying for every parent, when bears wander into a school playground. It is infuriating when a school principal calls for help, and cannot get immediate action.

Which is what happened when the principal of the Temagami public school, called the Ministry of Natural Resources for help. A mother bear and two cubs, presumably searching for garbage, had invaded the playground.

The MNR said call the OPP. The OPP said call the MNR. Eventually the town clerk grabbed his rifle and went to the school, but the bears had gone.

The OPP stationed a guard, and a bear came back. But the officer did not shoot because the bear was no immediate threat, and many children were watching.

There are similar stories all over the North. Bears in Kapuskasing. Bears in Timmins, where local trappers have caught several, and taken them far out of town. But they usually return, because bears are territorial. Dump a trapped bear fifty miles from town, and the local boss bear chases it away.

Bears are not usually aggressive, unless you get between a mother and cubs. But near Chapleau, a female tree planter was attacked and bitten by a bear. A fellow worker beat it off with a shovel, and they ran for their lives. .

The bear population seems to be exploding. There has been no spring bear hunt for two years. Bears have no natural predators, except old age and disease. Less hunting means more bears competing for food. Something the government did not consider when it banned the hunt.

The MNR used to capture stray bears. But now it is just as hungry for money, as bears are for food. It has downloaded responsibility upon the rest of society.

The police are in a difficult position. They are not trained to arrest bears. And if they do shoot a bear, they are savagely criticised by animal lovers.

The MNR has also downloaded responsibility for removing dead moose. A moose killed by a transport near Matachewan rotted for two weeks because no one would act. In the French River area, three men found a dead moose floating in a lake near a beach used for swimming, and supplying water.

The MNR would not help, so they put Vicks under their noses, and dragged the rank carcass into the bush. Perhaps all this is part of tourist promotion. Go and see Northerners running for their lives. Enjoy real bear country. But don't breath too deeply, the smell may disgust you.

((This commentary originated with CBC Radio))

My Own Commentary

Copyright Lark Ritchie 2000, All Rights Reserved.

It's more than the smell that is disgusting. My own thinking says that there are three things at play here. One, poor thinking and planning; Two, an escalating schism between the unreal, unconnected life of suburbia and country life; and Three, and most heart-wrenchingly disheartening, the abrogation of 'community' and interconnection by our government. Sad thing is, it'll take real people to elect a better government. Are you up to it?

Whatcha 'Tink?

Lark Ritchie.

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