Province wants conservation officer ousted from service for saving baby bears

A conservation officer who defied his bosses and refused to euthanize two orphaned bear cubs is being pushed out of his job, but he’s not being fired.

VANCOUVER — A conservation officer who defied his bosses and refused to euthanize two orphaned bear cubs is being pushed out of his job, but he’s not being fired.

Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C.

Casavant sent the cubs to a wildlife refuge instead.

But the decision earned him a suspension with pay, and now Casavant has been told he will be transferred out of the Conservation Officer Service.

His union is vowing to fight the move.

“Casavant should not have been suspended, and he should not be transferred from his job as a conservation officer,” Stephanie Smith, president of the BC Government and Service Employees Union, said in a release.

“He has a distinguished record of public service in law enforcement,” she said. “Bryce Casavant did the right thing when he decided these young bears should be assessed for rehabilitation.”

Casavant’s actions represent the highest ideals of the Conservation Officer Service and its motto “integrity, service and protection,” Smith said.

Jamie Edwardson, a spokesman for the B.C. Public Service Agency, said Casavant’s transfer is not a disciplinary action against him.

He said Casavant is being moved to an equivalent position within government and that his salary will remain the same.

“We value the contributions of all public service employees,” Edwardson said. “If an employee is reassigned to a new position, we will offer them assistance as they make the transition to their new role. We want all employees to be successful.”

The union said it will file a grievance against the transfer, in addition to a grievance already filed over Casavant’s original suspension in July.

It intends to take both issues to arbitration, although a hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Edwardson said the government will not comment on issues that could be going to arbitration.

The bears are now part of a rearing and release program for orphaned cubs after it was determined they were in good health and not conditioned to humans.

They are being cared for at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre near Nanaimo, and are scheduled to be released in a remote habitat sometime in 2016.

Just Posted

Family says five found dead after Alberta fire were couple and their grandkids

ROCHFORT BRIDGE, Alta. — The family of five people whose bodies were… Continue reading

Rescue dogs come to Canada in search of forever families

There were dozens of dogs in the back of the van travelling… Continue reading

WATCH: Parkland Garden Centre hosts weekly Craft and Market Sale

A weekly event hosted by the Parkland Nurseries Garden Centre gives Red… Continue reading

Red Deer region’s unemployment drops in November

Provincially and Canada-wide November jobless rate increased

Red Deer loses out on funding for addiction clinic

$8 million divided among eight communities

Fashion Fridays: Ethical and sustainable gifts for the season

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

Google taps into Montreal’s rich gaming industry for first-party Stadia content

Sebastien Puel has seen Montreal evolve into a game development powerhouse over… Continue reading

Man dead after lengthy standoff with RCMP at home northeast of Calgary

COCHRANE, Alta. — A man in Alberta has died after an officer… Continue reading

Turkey trouble: Quebec village looks to dump wild bird running afoul in town

MONTREAL — In the small Quebec town of St-Prosper-de-Champlain — population 552… Continue reading

“Anne with an E” creator says show won’t be revived despite fan petition

TORONTO — The creator of the CBC/Netflix drama series “Anne with an… Continue reading

Woman, 58, dies after two vehicles collide with the same deer

NEEPAWA, Man. — RCMP say a 58-year-old woman is dead after a… Continue reading

B.C. treaty commissioner expects UNDRIP bill to speed treaty talks, more deals

VICTORIA — The often bumpy and slow path toward treaty making in… Continue reading

Most Read