I'm back on the ferry headed to Richmond for the last day of the BC Wildlife Federation convention. Ferry travel is what you do when living on a small island. I was able to be there for the opening on Weds night and Thursday but had to leave return to work (my favourite pub in the world, Surf Lodge Pub on Gabriola island!!) Even filmmakers - or especially filmmakers - have to pull in the cash for their daily living...

So, playing catchup with emails, one photo I didn't get to post Thursday was of Keith Beasley, keynote speaker who opened the convention. He's one of three hosts of Canada's most-watched hunting show Canada in the Rough.

Keith Beasley addresses the BCWF members at the opening of 2013 Convention. 

Keith Beasley addresses the BCWF members at the opening of 2013 Convention. 

Keith is a super nice, approachable guy. Father of 4 trying to make a living from his passion, which I completely respect. We had a great conversation about the state of television and funding and how difficult it is to get good shows on the air. He shared openly about how hard it was for them when Global pulled their show from their network last year, leaving them with a massive problem of having inventory with nowhere to air it. I think I can relate. Having spent $1,000s in production for my film Trapper of Peace River (and two other features) with no broadcaster attached because of the miserable state of documentary funding, it's a very tough position to be in. You either plow ahead and hope for a break, or throw in the towel at some point. At least I don't have 4 children to support. 

The Beasley Brothers pulled out of it though, and this year managed to expand their show to Quebec's RDI network and abroad to Russia and Finland. Sometimes a roadblock provides opportunity, if you don't let it stop you. Keith encouraged all at the convention to keep following their passions and to be proud of their traditions, to refuse to hide the fact that they are hunters, conservationists, anglers and outdoor lovers, and that their voices are needed in promoting and practicing what makes Canada great: our wild spaces and beautiful, rugged landscapes. Many of those present seem perfectly adept at making their voices heard, since at least 5 people I talked to after his speech told me they cancelled their subscription to Global after Canada in the Rough was pulled, out of total disgust!

I have no fears that the future of wildlife, conservation, the habitat and the species who depend on our participation for survival, are in good hands with a determined group of advocates such as the BC Wildlife Federation. 

Keep up the good work people, Canada is depending on you to be a voice for the voiceless. 

- Tobi