British Columbia

'Bear saviour' set to run for B.C. NDP

The man known for refusing to kill a pair of orphaned bear cubs is entering a new den, provincial politics. Bryce Casavant was introduced on Wednesday as a candidate for the B.C. NDP nomination in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, the riding belonging to popular Green Party candidate Andrew Weaver.

Former B.C. conservation officer Bryce Casavant was fired after he refused to euthanize a pair of bear cubs

Bryce Casavant is seeking the NDP nomination in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. He's well known as the conservation officer who refused to kill a pair of orphaned bear cubs in B.C. (Mike McArthur/CBC, Julie Mackey)

The man known for refusing to kill a pair of orphaned bear cubs is entering a new den: provincial politics. 

Bryce Casavant was introduced Wednesday as a candidate for the B.C. NDP nomination in Oak Bay-Gordon Head — the riding currently held by Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver's riding. 

"I believe in people-centred government and I believe in people centred-change. I believe in building a government that has the capacity to care for the people of this great province," said Casavant.

Casavant was seeking nomination in Comox Valley

Casavant had been seeking the party's nomination closer to his Port McNeil home in the riding of Comox Valley, but decided to pursue political opportunities further south on Vancouver Island because no one was running for the NDP in Oak Bay-Gordon Head and there are currently three others seeking the Comox Valley nomination.

The Comox Valley riding is currently held by MLA Don McRae, but the B.C. Liberal incumbent is not running again.

The 33-year-old former conservation officer made global headlines after refusing to put down the bear cubs — the cubs' mother was put down for becoming habituated to humans. Casavant was suspended by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service

The cubs were since rehabilitated and released back into the wild last summer. Casavant later accepted a transfer to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

NDP Leader John Horgan introduced Casavant at the Oaks restaurant in Oak Bay as a 'bear saviour,' but added Casavant is more than a one issue candidate. 

"He is an outstanding individual, full of integrity and commitment ..." said Horgan.

Two infant bears — a brother and sister — were saved by former Conservation Officer Bryce Cassavant after their mother was killed for repeatedly breaking into a freezer full of meat and salmon. (Julie Mackey)

Casavant set to face MLA Andrew Weaver

But Casavant is a relative unknown in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. He doesn't live in the riding, but because of this political opportunity is planning on moving there. He is also set to run against popular Green Party incumbent Andrew Weaver.

Weaver is out of the country, but sent out a statement congratulating Casavant for seeking the nomination. 

"This riding cares deeply about local representation, as was demonstrated by the exceptionally high voter turnout in 2013. I look forward to a lively campaign and wish him well," reads the statement from Weaver. 

Local lawyer Alex Dutton is running for the B.C. Liberals in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. 

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver (left) is seeking re-election in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. (Richard Zussman/CBC News)