- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Animal rights advocates who not only are against hunting but also sport fishing have been busy over the past five or six years trying to convince the rest of the world that the use of lead sinkers by anglers who use weighted fishing rigs and bait should be prohibited. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will go along with the animal worshippers, who claim that the sinkers might be ingested by a bird and cause its death.

Have we all gone mad?

At least we are happy to report that to our knowledge there haven't been any incidents in which environmental sinker cops patrolled American shorelines, lakes, rivers and ponds to keep us scofflaws in line. The idea of the whole thing is so ludicrous, we suppose the EPA is too embarrassed to try and enforce such a silly regulation.

Our neighbors to the north, the folks in the land of the maple leaf, are now facing a similar threat.

And if a Canadian sets his mind to enact and enforce a silly law, watch out. This is the same country that is grabbing the guns of its citizens, perhaps because it has good reason to be afraid of them. The paranoid government in Ottawa, with its seemingly never-ending schemes to interfere with its citizens' lives, can favorably be compared with some of the totalitarian regimes that many Canadians (as well as Americans) gave their lives to get rid off.

But an old friend, Phil Morlock, who operates the beautiful Hay Lake Lodge in Ontario, not far from the Algonquian National Park, tells us how his people are being mislead again in another harebrained scheme brought about by sloppy, silly science.

For starters, Morlock isn't some delirious activist who hates his government. No, he is a professional wildlife biologist, a former chairman of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' Fish & Wildlife Advisory Board and a man who has worked on various sportfishing legislative issues committees. He also runs his hunting/fishing lodge and is the national marketing manager for Shimano Canada, a famous fishing tackle manufacturer that produces fine rods, reels and such but no lead sinkers.

Morlock writes, "The current Canadian Parliamentary version of misconception, sloppy thinking and ham science being applied against anglers comes in the form of a member's bill being brought forward [without] any consultation with the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association." Just like similar regulations that our EPA thought up, the Canadian bill has somehow determined that lead fishing weights and baits should be banned through the Migratory Birds Convention Act. According to the wording of Bill M-414, this would "end the poisoning of migratory birds, including the loon, caused by the swallowing of lead."

What upsets Morlock even more is that one determined individual working for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources forged ahead, making unsubstantiated public claims that "lead fishing tackle was poisoning significant numbers of loons" and other waterfowl.

Says Morlock: "Although the MNR promised to produce the hard evidence and data upon which these 'scientific' conclusions were based, it never materialized. The lack of dead loons and actual evidence did not discourage several other self-proclaimed experts from continuing to claim over the years that 'scientific research shows loons are being poisoned by lead fishing tackle.' Or not."

Morlock says the member of Parliament, Quebec's Pierrette Venne, and her backdoor bill to ban lead fishing tackle might at first blush appear to be cloaked in environmental awareness, but it actually is nothing more than a repackaged version of the antifishing animal rights extremists' agenda.

"Everything old is new again even ham and Swiss cheese science," Morlock says.

On a related note, Canada's National Post newspaper last week had a story written by Michael Friscolanti concerning American hunters who have canceled their trips to Canada this fall. "Lodges across Canada," he wrote, "are feeling the effects of an American public reluctant to fly in the wake of last month's terrorist attacks. The situation is especially dire because nearly everyone who vacations at Canadian hunting/fishing resorts is American."

Two reasons account for Americans' reluctance to go to Canada: Fear of flying and a fear that the Canadian government will take away their guns during its current heavy-handed anti-gun program.

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