Letters to the Editor for Nov. 12

Letters to the Editor regarding Wayne Stetski and Conservation Officers.

Letter to the Editor re: Wayne Stetski

Apparently, the result of the recent federal election in Kootenay-Columbia has displeased Igor Gallyamov (Letter to the Editor, The Free Press, Nov. 5)

His letter contained yet another attack on NDP MP Wayne Stetski, borne this time on the wings of a rumour which, Igor insists, has just surfaced.

The tone of Igor’s correspondence suggests a high degree of personal animosity. It also places him neck-deep among those who wallow in the corrosive and intolerant negativity which is at very core of Harperite conservatism.

Like many others, he finds it impossible to accept the fact that his Conservative decade of political preening and triumphalist gloating over the perceived demise of a democratic and inclusive Canada, is over.

As it happens, Mr. Stetski was Manager of Provincial Parks for the Kootenays when Michel Trudeau died in an avalanche in Kokanee Glacier Park, and shared with the Trudeau family in raising $1.1 million to sustain the Canadian Avalanche Association.

And so, because of this acquaintanceship, the rumour (which has just surfaced, according to Igor) is that Mr. Stetski will cross the floor of the House of Commons to sit on the Liberal benches. Naturally, he does not tell us that the rumour is  groundless, unsubstantiated and is denied implicitly by Mr. Stetski.

There is, however, another rumour (which has just surfaced) that Igor has himself fabricated the anti-Stetski rumour. To disabuse us of this suspicion, perhaps he could tell us the truth and reveal his sources.

Otherwise some of your readers might  give credence to a further rumour (which has just surfaced) that Igor wouldn’t recognise the truth if it fell into his soup.

JC Vallance,Fernie, B.C.

Letter to the Editor re: Conservation Officers

Every day, conservation officers around British Columbia are working hard to protect the environment and ensure public safety in challenging and often dangerous situations.

This year marks a very special milestone – the 110th anniversary of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. The inaugural Conservation Officer Day was proclaimed Nov. 4 in celebration of the anniversary. Eleven conservation officers from around British Columbia received awards in recognition of their bravery, dedication and service.

I am extremely proud of the hard work conservation officers throughout the province do every day, and I know it is not easy.

This anniversary is a chance to recognize and honour the dedicated men and women who make up the Conservation Officer Service – who every day go above and beyond their duties.

The Conservation Officer Service has grown leaps and bounds since its humble beginnings in 1905, when they were known as game wardens and were mostly volunteers.  Today, the service is celebrated as a leader in natural resource law enforcement and human-wildlife conflicts and response.

Conservation officers are the unsung heroes of our environment, tirelessly working to protect and preserve our natural resources, and fish and wildlife for future generations. Yet their stories are seldom heard.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several conservation officers and hear some of their countless stories of why they love what they do.

Many of the conservation officers serving British Columbians got into the role because they are passionate about protecting our pristine wilderness and everything in it.

They speak of their love for the variety of the job, of meeting new people, taking in spectacular scenery and of helping to resolve conflicts with animals.

They tell stories of relocating bears, of remote patrols in the backcountry, and of helping teach municipalities the importance of wildlife management.

Several conservation officers were inspired by stories from family or friends, including one who grew up around a campfire with his game warden father. Many others fell into the role through their love of the outdoors.

“I remember meeting my first conservation officer and knowing then, I would one day wear the uniform,” recalled a young woman who has been on the job for nearly five years. “We are the voice for wild things; wild things for which we love.”

The role of a conservation officer is a diverse and demanding one.

There is no typical day. Often, the public isn’t aware of the many different tasks an officer takes on. An officer could relocate a bear, track down a poacher and give a wilderness safety talk to students – all in the same shift.

I am proud of the conservation officers we have in our province, who are outside in the sun, rain, snow and sleet doing their best every day.

I hold the B.C. Conservation Officer Service in the highest esteem, and know that British Columbians join me in our appreciation of the integrity and values for which they serve the public.

I urge you to take a moment to thank your local conservation officer the next time you see them out in your community.

Mary PolakMinister of Environment