Poachers will soon be paying a higher price for robbing Manitoba of its resources, provided proposed legislation goes through.
The bill, if passed, will be the first of its kind in Canada, said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh in mid-April. Under the proposed legislation, individuals convicted of an offence where fish or wildlife were unlawfully killed, transported, or possessed, would pay restitution above fines already in place, in an amount to be determined. It’s hoped the bill would be in place by early 2015.
Restitution costs could range from $40 for a walleye to up to $4,000 for a white-tailed deer. Mackintosh also envisions costs would double for offences that occur in areas closed to hunting or for protected species.
“Protecting our fish and wildlife for future generations is more important than ever and those who choose to illegally harvest and kill these animals
need to compensate Manitobans for this loss,” Minister Mackintosh said. Rob Olson, managing director, Manitoba Wildlife Federation said, “The vast
majority of hunters know and respect the rules and it’s great to see the penalties will be used to help replace what was taken illegally.”
The idea has some support in Ontario, too.
“The OFAH (Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters) congratulates the Manitoba government on the proposed legislation, which, in addition to
existing fines, will directly benefit the resource,” said OFAH Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services Terry Quinney. “The Ontario government has been derelict in collecting outstanding fish and wildlife related fines. We continue to lobby the government to ensure that outstanding fines are collected and directed to the Special Purpose Account. Once the government succeeds in this, we would certainly support similar legislation for Ontario.”