We all have a right to the land

Sean McCarthy, a Cloverdale resident, responds to the Tl'etinqox-tin Band's plans to ban moose hunting.

Editor:

An open letter to MLA Kevin Falcon:

I am writing this in regards to the Tl’etinqox-tin band’s intention to blockade the access roads and attempt to stop the lawful hunting of moose by non-band members not accompanied by one of their own guides on Crown land in the Chicoltin.

Let me begin by saying that my family has hunted the Raven Lake area in excess of 30 years. My father, myself, my cousins and now my son and nieces utilize the incredible resource that is the Chicoltin. The area we hunt belongs to us all, Canadians. The intention of the Tsilhqot’in people to deny access to the areas is an infringement of my rights as a Canadian.

The area is Crown land belonging to us all and the moose are a resource that by lawful LEH hunting practices are available to all who choose to practice and embrace the hunting tradition of this province. I was born in this country, in this province, and am proud to be a native of British Columbia. I am proud to be Canadian.

The contents of the Tsilhqot’in band’s letter states that hunters will be escorted from Crown land belonging to all of us, and reported to the TGO council. I ask what authority the TGO council has to stop me and other lawful hunters from accessing Crown land, and what authority would they have to detain, stop or escort me anywhere? Would the RCMP not be there to stop them breaking the law and violating my rights as a Canadian and resident of this province? How am I to be confident in my safety or my son’s safety in this area in the fall?

I believe this issue is more than just a hunting one. It seems to my interpretation that the Tl’etinqox-tin band intends to limit hunting to Tsilhqot’in-guided hunts only, thereby making a profit on what is a violation of my rights as a Canadian and a violation of the law.

My taxes pay for the upkeep of the resource that is the Chilcotin. I and my family are responsible hunters. We celebrate the hunting tradition of this province every year, as a family, as Canadians and residents of this province. What the Tl’etinqox-tin Band intends is wrong. We all have a right to the land and a right to the resources it provides.

 

Sean McCarthy

Cloverdale, B.C.

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