The president of the Fernie Rod and Gun Club got an unexpected response from Minister of State for Mining Bill Bennett when he wrote to complain about proposed changes to the provincial government's big game allocation process. In an email sent back in November, Maarten Hart claimed those changes would give guides and outfitters an unfair advantage over resident hunters. And he didn't mince words when making that claim, writing that the Campbell administration "bows to the almighty dollar and faces east three times each day (not to Mecca, but to Wall Street)". But, a reply sent out last month, Minister Bennett was even more blunt. "It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don't give a shit what your opinion is on Canada or Canadian residents," he informed Dr. Hart. He then went on to describe the veterinarian as "dumb" and alleged he might be "an American spy who is actually interested in helping the US create a park in the Flathead" - a reference to Dr. Hart's opposition to coal mining in that watershed, which stretches into the United States. The following is a complete copy of that email exchange.
From: Maarten Hart
Sent: 19 November 2006 19:52
To: Bennett.MLA, Bill
Cc: Kent Petovello
Subject: Big Game Allocations
I am writing to let you know that the proposed big game allocation process is an insult to the residents of British Columbia and insult to the rights of BC hunters. Giving Guide/Outfitters such a large piece of the pie and guaranteeing their rights is absurd. I know that your government bows to the almighty dollar and faces east three times each day (not to Mecca, but to Wall Street), but even given that bent, the fact is that the resident hunter provides 100 times the revenue that nonresidents do. Look to the south and see that guides take a distant second to residents in every state; as they should here. Please respond to the wishes of your constituency and let Minister Penner know that this is unacceptable.
Sincerely, Maarten Hart
Fernie Rod & Gun Club
From: Bennett, Bill SMIN:EX
Sent: 29 January 2007 20:55
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Your email of November 19th
I am in my hotel room in Vancouver tonight reviewing the wildlife allocation in preparation for a meeting I have with minister Penner and I came across your November 19th email. I have been reading through this stuff since 5 pm today and meanwhile downstairs in this hotel is the biggest mining conference in BC that I ought to be participating in. Fortunately, I am almost done with my review. Your email, mercifully, was at the very bottom of my pile of paper.
Let me be very direct with you, as you were with me.
* It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don't give a shit what your opinion is on Canada or Canadian residents.
* Our government does not "â€¦bow to the almighty dollar and face east to Wall Street each dayâ€¦", but we do recognize a fool when we come across one. How do you think you are representing the interests of your members when you insult the BC hunter's strongest advocate, yours truly. I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to sort out this allocation file. It is complex, something that you obviously have enormous difficulty with. You don't know who your friends are, which makes you dumb.
* Don't lecture me about "listening to the wishes of my constituents". As someone who has spent the past six years working my ass off for my constituents, I am not about to take that kind of bullshit from someone who, for all I know, is up here as an American spy who is actually interested in helping the US create a park in the Flathead.
I will continue to work for hunters and anglers in the East Kootenay as I always have and you will continue to be a self-inflated, pompous, American know-it-all.
Have a nice day.