When passion is involved, the desire to protect the object of that passion walks alongside. That’s why the Outdoor Caucus is such a vital group in Ottawa. Its members – of which I am one – are passionate about our Canadian heritage activities of hunting, fishing, sport shooting and trapping. We’re also passionate about our mandate to take seriously our environmental responsibility.
My like-minded colleagues – members of all parties in the House of Commons and the Senate – and I came together in 2006, at my own invitation. Over our years of appreciating and participating in outdoor activities, we’ve sensed a need to become proactive in protecting our outdoors heritage from an increasing number of large, well-funded, international groups who want to shut down hunting, fishing, trapping and sport shooting.
Rural and urban Canadians of all political affiliations, backgrounds, ages and abilities contribute over $10 billion annually to the national economy through these industries. These traditional activities are a key part of Canada’s culture and an important component of our history as a nation.
On behalf of millions of our constituents, who fish, hunt, trap, and participate in recreational shooting in all regions of Canada, we feel that as parliamentarians we must vigorously oppose the ill-conceived efforts of the multi-national lobbies that seek to destroy our traditional heritage activities. We are in the best possible position to bring about meaningful legislation to secure them long into the future.
The Outdoors Caucus has become the largest caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. As its co-chair I have travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with the leaders of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus in the House of Representatives and the Senate to learn how the non-partisan effort has been successful on Capitol Hill.
The successful conservation of fish and wildlife, in tandem with restoring habitat across the continent, testifies to the sustained efforts of people who hunt and fish in Canada and the United States. Much can be accomplished when elected representatives are able to work together across political party lines on these important issues.