Archive | August, 2013

A simple analogy

26 Aug

Sheri Monk writes eloquently about the situation facing rural communities near PFRA pastures. The quote in bold really sums it up – hard to argue with that!

“The PFRA employs people, and those people have families that attend area schools, and purchase goods and services locally. The pasture land and irrigation has helped provide a stability that in turn makes the entire region stronger. The environmental goods and services the pastures provide are well-documented, and contribute greatly to Canada’s carbon storage capacity. All of these communities help keep our border secure and sovereign and act as a buffer between Canada and the U.S. – these are the communities in which our customs officers live. There is an enormous amount of ranching and farming in the area and these efforts by a handful of people help to sustain our shortline railways, our elevators, and our service communities like Swift Current, Medicine Hat, Shaunavon and Maple Creek.

Everybody benefits from the PFRA projects, and to suddenly expect a handful of people to completely finance them is akin to asking the village of Piapot to take over all costs associated with the TransCanada Highway between Maple Creek and Tompkins.”

Then, this article from Country Guide West really delves into the complexity of the issue.

“Stewart says. ‘These are people who don’t deal well with change. This (PFRA) was a subsidized program in the past, and it won’t be into the future. It’s not fair to others.’

Stewart blames the PFRA system as a whole for lease rates to patrons that lagged far behind the private sector.

But Trevor Herriot doesn’t buy the argument that the pastures are simply agricultural land. ‘There are more endangered species here than anywhere in Canada and 7,000-year-old native grass. This is not merely agricultural land any more than a northern forest is simply a woodlot.'”

Species at Risk

14 Aug

PPPI has argued for the importance of the Species at Risk legislation and worries that there is no equivalent protection for provincial lands. However, it is acknowledged that even SARA has limited powers. This article goes into more detail.

“…The law states clearly that the government has nine months to make a decision about listing the species under SARA. The law also states that if no decision is taken, the species is automatically listed. This timeline was intended to prevent species at risk from being lost due to unintentional or willful government inaction.

However, recent ministers have decided to leave many of the files in limbo, not transmitting them to cabinet and so not starting the nine-month stopwatch. Indeed, over the last four years, 92 of the 141 COSEWIC assessments have never been officially transmitted. The result is that many endangered species in Canada are being put on hold, neither accepted as being at-risk nor officially rejected….”

Community Pasture Patrons Have New Website

7 Aug

The Community Pastures Patrons Association of Saskatchewan (CPPAS), which has the support of committees from the majority of the federal community pastures being transferred to Saskatchewan, has put together a website.

It has photos, their mission statement, membership information, links and news, including coverage of their recent media release, where they asked for another year to work out the details of the pastures transition. Please check out their site, share it with others, and see how you can support their work.