Justin Trudeau, whose adventurous younger brother Michel died in a backcountry skiing accident more than a decade ago, doesn't want government bureaucrats legislating when and how Canadians play.
And he doesn't like the discussion that is taking place now "around banning the access to our nation's playground … the wilderness," he said today as he left Liberal national caucus.
He's worried about an "overly heavy-handed" approach.
Mr. Trudeau was responding to the debate on whether the backcountry should be made off limits after last weekend's avalanche tragedy in British Columbia that left two snowmobilers dead.
B.C. Public Safety Minister Kash Heed has said in response to the debate that it would be difficult to "control and regulate" people on snowmobiles using the backcountry.
Mr. Trudeau, meanwhile, has been working to improve avalanche awareness since his younger brother was killed in a backcountry skiing accident in 1998. Michel Trudeau was swept into a B.C. lake by an avalanche; his body has never been found.
"Listen, I don't want a government telling me when I can and when I cannot go play outside. … It shouldn't be up to the bureaucrats," he said.
He said working on building awareness and looking at the responsibility "for organizers who are not paying attention to all the avalanche warnings" may also be another way to look at the problem.
"The concern that I have if we start penalizing people and asking them to pay for their own rescue, which is one of the things that comes around, there's going to be a lot of people hesitating before making the phone call and we'll be recovering more bodies and less living and breathing people," he said.
(Photo: One of the snowmobiles involved in last weekend's tragic avalanche is retrieved near Revelstoke, B.C. John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
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