Evan Saugstad: Grizzly bans, gas prices, and electric car dreams


Welcome to Part Two of looking in my rear-view mirror, and continuing from where I left off last week.

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On August 16, I wrote that healthy councils should be diverse and change often. It’s great to see some new faces with fewer wrinkles on council. We did get better gender representation; haven’t got my mind around if we now need an X to give us even better representation. Maybe some ethnic diversity next time.

On August 23, I wrote that Sir John A Macdonald may be gone but he can’t be forgotten. It’s great to see so many people from across this country tell Victoria’s mayor that she screwed up in removing Sir John A. MacDonald’s statue from public display. It’s sad to hear that Sir John A is still languishing in some warehouse while Victoria spends thousands trying to figure out what to do with him.

A national poll found the vast majority opposed its removal in the first place and are now divided as to what to do with it. This poll also found that Canadians are tired of us continually apologizing to everyone for everything. BBC News called Prime Minster Justin Trudeau “Canada’s most apologetic leader.”

On September 6, I wrote about finding a cure for our northern healthcare woes. General good kudos go to Northern Health. It seems once one gets into the system (versus waiting for that “original” appointment), things get better. A CT scan only took a week’s wait and an ultrasound a few months.

We still need improvement for our visiting specialists. I asked our Ear, Nose and Throat doctor why it took six months and a cancellation to get in to see him. He threw a shoe and said go talk to Northern Health. Apparently, it’s only about a three week wait to see him in Prince George. He said he is willing to come to Fort St. John more often.

As to my results, getting older doesn’t seem to be making me any better. I still have an undiagnosed sore ear, though it doesn’t seem to hinder me from hearing the nattering here at home.I’ll have to decide in the new year to either donate my prostate to the used parts bin or get it radiated. A good follow-up topic for next Movember.

On September 13 and 20, I wrote about how B.C.'s project assessment system isn’t broken, but they are a costly balancing act. I still don’t have much more to say on this. B.C.’s regulations will come forth in the new year and we will wait to see what PM Justin ends up passing off as a better process on Canada’s part.

On November 1 and 13, I wrote about the end of the grizzly hunt, for now, and how governing by polls is not in our best interests. Finally, after many years hunting here in the Northeast, I ran into a grizzly on the trail. Fortunately, for both of us, I saw it first and beat a hasty retreat.

I made a trip out to Bella Coola to visit friends and their stories about grizzly bears aren’t pretty. One had eight grizzlies cross his lawn in one hour — in a residential subdivision. Most people are now adding outdoor lights and leaving them on all night so they can check for bears before venturing outside. Children who used to walk to bus stops are now being driven for fear they will encounter a bear.

Even the school had lockdowns for grizzlies in the playground, while others had them breaking into buildings looking for food. Government’s response, so far: Learn to live with them, although they have shot a few that have become too bold. Why can’t we just have some hunter willing to pay $10,000 to $15,000 to do this for us?

On November 17, I wrote that we should be happy and pay when it comes to gasoline. What can I add? Great discussion online, nothing like realizing one is getting hosed to stir up one’s dander. Coincidentally, gas prices dropped immediately after this article was published, and we now sit a few cents higher than Dawson Creek (7 cents).

I still don’t understand why we were paying 20 cents more on the day I wrote the article. Could be that too many drivers in places such as Fort St. John and Grande Prairie use corporate credit cards and don’t search out the lowest prices.

On November 22, I wrote about Climate Crusaders and electoral reform. As I write this, we’re still waiting for the result. Must wait and see how this all turns out. I surely will have an opinion on this one in the new year.

On December 6, I wrote that it takes a village to raise a herd when it comes to caribou recovery. When it comes to the possibility of losing one’s job, people do pay attention and get active. This article generated a lot of online discussion.

It was great to see Saulteau First Nations’ public response on this, as this issue is not an “us” versus “them” type of issue. This is about all of us.

Kudos to the Peace River Regional District and South Peace communities for not allowing government to “negotiate” this behind closed doors. Keep it above board and in the open, and, in the end, it will work out much better for all, including the caribou.

While all of you are at it, why not ask/demand that government re-open the grizzly hunt in these areas? Just go online and review what Alaska has found out about grizzlies and caribou. Yes, their herds are larger, but, that aside, they did have one grizzly kill and eat 44 — yes, 44 — caribou calves in 25 days.

On December 14, I wrote about Premier John Horgan’s electric car pitch. One new thought came to mind as I re-read this. To encourage more people to buy and use electric vehicles, why not allow one to transfer licence plates and insurance from its carbon cousin, if only one vehicle is on the road at a time? Much the same as how farm plates are used. Might end up with two vehicles but you could use the electric one when appropriate but would save the registration and insurance costs.

Hope you had a great Christmas, and all the best to you in the New Year. The world still looks flat to me in 2019. 

Evan Saugstad lives in Fort St. John. 

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