MP REPORT: Polar bear protection unnecessary

Colin Mayes defends the federal government's environmental record

My Ottawa office receives about 15,000 e-mails per year. No, not all of them are from constituents.  Most are internal communications but we do receive many from constituents and they get answered. I keep track of the issues you raise and respond, in my columns, to concerns that are of high interest to you.

I have received many e-mails regarding the protection of polar bears. Polar bear hunting is illegal in Canada, with the exception of the Inuit who have a constitutional right to hunt polar bears. Reports from the Nunavut Department of Environment show the number of polar bears actually increasing to a 20-year high and the polar bear habitat recovering.

In Antarctica, the sea ice started growing early this year, and the ice cover remains above average. The global sea ice of both polar caps now exceeds the average recorded since 1979, when satellites began their measurements.

According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, tracking Arctic temperatures since 1958, Arctic ice has made a comeback, and Arctic temperatures have returned to normal lows.

The doomsayers, the ‘sky is falling syndrome’ has actually proven to be just a knee jerk reaction to a cyclical spike in temperature over the past couple of decades which has now turned back to normal, that is, whatever is normal in the history of weather patterns.

My brother lives close to the Arctic Circle and yes, this is true.

Your government in Ottawa provided $150 million to monitor wildlife, the natural habitat, and the overall health of Canada’s Polar Regions.

This funding was a response to concerns of not only Arctic warming, but also to prepare guidelines for any future development that might take place in the Arctic.

Your government also recognized the need to protect more areas in the Arctic and has expanded and increased the number of Arctic park reserves.

I want to ensure all my constituents that your government in Ottawa will continue to monitor the health of our natural environment and wildlife so that it will be as breathtaking tomorrow as it is today.

Colin Mayes is MP for Okanagan-Shuswap.


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