The Ontario government is poised to push through Bill 135, the Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act, which gives people a “right to hunt and fish.” The Chiefs of Ontario fear the law will weaken the ability of the provincial natural resources ministry to conserve and manage the province’s wildlife. The Chiefs also say it will ultimately lead to a derogation of First Nations aboriginal and treaty rights to hunt and fish.
The decision to give 2nd and 3rd readings to the bill comes despite a recent court decision that killed a bid to overturn the Ontario ban on the spring bear hunt. The Ontario Federal of Anglers and Hunters argued that sport hunters had a heritage of hunting, and thus a right to express that heritage under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled April 22 that they found no constitutionally protected rights under Section 2 of the Charter.