Darren DeLuca of Port Alberni is running as a Liberal candidate in the Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding for the May 9, 2017 provincial election. FILE PHOTO

Darren DeLuca of Port Alberni is running as a Liberal candidate in the Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding for the May 9, 2017 provincial election. FILE PHOTO

Liberal candidate Darren DeLuca responds to trophy hunting claims

Dogwood Initiative ‘using trigger words’ to raise funds: DeLuca

The Dogwood Initiative has misrepresented the facts surrounding a hunt that Mid Island-Pacific Rim Liberal candidate Darren DeLuca held in 2014, says DeLuca.

DeLuca sent his written response to the Alberni Valley News over the weekend. Kai Nagata of the Dogwood Initiative last week leveled allegations against DeLuca that linked him to a U.S. Super Pac fund that has been accused of channeling money into the B.C. election.

Nagata published an article online providing a link to an auction from 2014, where DeLuca auctioned off a five-day coastal black bear hunt.

“The Dogwood Initiative, a political activist organization that is campaigning against the BC Liberals, is raising funds by misrepresenting a hunt I donated to an international conservation group in 2014,” DeLuca wrote in his prepared statement.

“The hunt was purchased by an elderly gentleman who in turn donated it to a wounded warrior military veteran,” DeLuca explained. “Accompanying the veteran was Scott O’Grady, a US fighter pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines in Bosnia in 1995. It was an honour to meet and host the two men. They very much enjoyed the beauty and hospitality of our region.”

The Dogwood Initiative, says DeLuca, “are fond of using ‘trigger words’ to inflame their followers. Words like ‘trophy’ are used to drive their fundraising campaigns.”

DeLuca said he regularly supports organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Conservation Visions, SCI, the Dallas Safari Club, Wild Sheep, the Guide Outfitters Association of BC and others “dedicated to wildlife sustainability and preserving the public right to hunt and fish.

“The Dogwood Initiative, on the other hand, does nothing for fish or wildlife,” he stated.

“As many people in this community know, I have been involved in the guide outfitting business for over 30 years,” he wrote. “It feeds my family, I spend my money in the community, and I give back to local community and conservation programs.

“I operate a well-respected business where we retrieve and utilize all game meat and obey the law.

“The election for Mid Island-Pacific Rim is not about the fundraising ambitions of the Dogwood Initiative, or my guide outfitting business that I have built over the years,” he added. “This election is about the future of Alberni, the Mid Island and Pacific Rim regions, and which candidate and party is best suited for the job.”

DeLuca was rumoured to have been campaigning in the Comox Valley with Premier Christy Clark on Monday.

editor@albernivalleynews.com