Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Newfoundland Government Linked Moose-Vehicle Accidents, Hunting 10 Years Ago

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Newfoundland Government Linked Moose-Vehicle Accidents, Hunting 10 Years Ago

Article excerpt

Moose crash lawsuit hears of hunting link

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A former senior bureaucrat testified Thursday that the Newfoundland and Labrador government had research 10 years ago from its own scientists linking moose-vehicle collisions and the extent to which moose are hunted.

Gary Norris said research reported as part of a review of how the province was handling such accidents indicated "a clear relationship between moose-vehicle collisions and moose harvests."

Norris, who retired as clerk of the executive council in 2010, was deputy minister for Tourism, Culture and Recreation in 2003-04 when the research came to light, he told provincial Supreme Court. The department at the time was responsible for wildlife issues.

Norris was called as a witness for the province as it defends itself against a class-action lawsuit that claims it negligently failed to control the moose population. It involves 135 plaintiffs, including at least 15 estates of those killed in collisions since 2001.

Under cross-examination by Ches Crosbie, lawyer for the plaintiffs, Norris spoke of the link between highway crashes and the extent to which moose are hunted, though the court did not hear what the link was specifically.

Crosbie is arguing that the province should be found liable for not doing more to limit risks created after the government introduced moose, a non-native species, to the island of Newfoundland more than a century ago.

Norris had earlier told the court under questioning by Peter Ralph, the lawyer for the province, that the new government under former premier Danny Williams had moose on its radar.

During the election campaign in October 2003, before the Progressive Conservatives formed government, Williams had promised to protect drivers. He said efforts would include increasing the number of hunting licences if scientific research supported the move. …

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