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Sask Government Survey on Provincial Pastures

10 Apr
In its March 22, 2017 budget the Saskatchewan government announced they would end the provincial pastures program and sell the land. Please write the Premier and fill out Sask Agriculture’s survey.
Sask Agriculture Pasture Land Consultation
They are doing a consultation with invitational meetings and an online survey. The survey is located here
You will notice that the survey is biased and doesn’t ask the basic question – Do you want the pastures sold? People need to make it clear they are in favour of retaining the pastures as public lands.
 
There are three spots in the survey where you can fill in your thoughts. This could include these points:
 
– Keep the provincial pastures as public lands – this is a top priority
 
– Express strong opposition to subdividing the pastures whether publicly or privately owned.
 
There is no urgency or economic advantage to dispose of the provincial pastures program. Delay the decision for an additional year to give more time for a proper inquiry into options.
 
– Sponsor a fully independent review of the ecological, agro-economic, and cultural effects of changes to the PFRA and provincial pastures systems.
 
Let them know 
Write, e-mail, fax  or phone the Premier and cc the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Agriculture
 
In addition to the points above  say why the pastures are valuable to you and society as a whole, such as: habitat for conserving native flora and fauna especially Species at Risk, soil and water conservation, carbon sequestration, public access for recreation and research, accommodating sustainable livestock grazing while conserving habitat.
Premier Brad Wall
Telephone 306-787-9433
FAX 306-787-0885
Mailing Address: Room 226, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
Email Address: 
premier@gov.sk.ca

 

Hon. Scott Moe, Minister of the Environment
Telephone: 306-787-0393
FAX: 306-787-1669
Mailing Address: Room 345, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
Email Address: 
env.minister@gov.sk.ca

 

Hon. Lyle Stewart, Minister of Agriculture
Telephone:306-787-0338
FAX: 306-787-0630
Mailing Address: Room 334, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
Email Address: minister.ag@gov.sk.ca

A Chance to Take Action – Pastures on the Federal Government Radar

1 Mar
Recently the future of community pastures was raised in the House of Commons, with a question by Wayne Stetski, NDP and a response by Hon. Catherine McKenna, Liberal, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. (See the post on this page from February 22)
The CBC subsequently interviewed Trevor Herriot and Mert Taylor. If you missed the interview you can listen to it or read the transcript at http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-february-21-2017-1.3991287/canada-s-grasslands-most-endangered-least-protected-ecosystems-1.3991299

If you want to send a message about conservation of the community pastures, you can consider the following:

‘In response to Wayne Stetski’s question during question period regarding the transfer of federal pastures to Saskatchewan, you said, “Mr. Speaker, I take very seriously the obligation to protect our natural environment. I am committed to working with the member on this issue to find a resolution.”

As a citizen of Canada concerned about our endangered native grasslands and their capacity for carbon storage, climate change adaptation, the numerous public benefits derived from these ecosystems, and the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples to access publicly-owned grasslands, I call on you as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to commit resources that will help livestock producers and communities, conservationists and Indigenous peoples to work together to protect the old growth prairie on the former federal community pastures from market forces that drive cultivation, ranchette development, badly-managed resource exploitation, and privatization.’

Email: Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca
Telephone: 1-613-996-5322

Fax: 1-613-996-5323                    

Mail: Hon. Catherine McKenna, House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6 (Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament.)

And in addition you may post a response on Facebook at The Current CBC (February 21 at 4:48pm) https://www.facebook.com/cbcthecurrent/

Pastures featured on The Current

22 Feb

If you missed the interview with PPPI Co-chair Trevor Herriot and retired PFRA cowboy Mert Taylor talking grasslands with CBC Radio’s Anna Maria Tremonti on Tuesday, February 21, you can find it here. A partial transcript is also available on the site.

The issue came to the attention of the CBC because this past Wednesday, the Federal NDP’s Wayne Stetski (Kootenay-Columbia) rose during Question Period with the following question about the transfer of pastures to Saskatchewan:

“Mr. Speaker, both Conservative and Liberal governments have downloaded responsibility for Saskatchewan’s environmentally critical grasslands without any concern for their future. These grasslands are unique ecological heritage sites. They act as important carbon sinks and are home to rare and threatened species. Now the government is considering giving away the last of these grasslands in southwestern Saskatchewan and ending the environmental protection they receive.

Will the Minister of Environment and Climate Change commit today to create a new national wildlife area to preserve these ecosystems for future generations?”

Response from Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):

“Mr. Speaker, I take very seriously the obligation to protect our natural environment. I am committed to working with the member on this issue to find a resolution.”

42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION, EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 141
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8769411

The Messenger: Film Screening and Fundraiser

12 Oct

The Messenger: Birds Have Something to Tell Us

 Award-Winning Eco-Documentary presented by PPPI at the

 Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina

Thursday, November 3rd at 7:00

baby-robin

An essential film for anyone who cares about the environment and nature, The Messenger explores mankind’s deep-seated connection to songbirds and the devastating impact humans have had on bird species, from urbanization, climate change and pesticides.

Since its world premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival, The Messenger has wowed audiences the world over at more than 30 international film festivals, played in over 100 US Cinemas, and is available on US Netflix.   A Hot Docs 2015 ‘Top Ten Audience Favourite’, it has received several awards, including Best Theatrical Feature, International Wildlife Film Festival.

Shot in Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, France, The Netherlands and the USA, The Messenger is an international story with high-stakes global consequences. The film argues that the decline of songbirds is due to human activity, signaling an uncertain shift in an already fragile ecosystem while warning that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

“According to Su Rynard’s provocative and beautiful documentary The Messenger, today’s songbirds are delivering us a message of global proportion: Modernity is killing them, and if we don’t do something soon, it might destroy us, too.” LA Weekly

The Messenger is directed by Su Rynard and produced by Joanne Jackson. Both grew up listening to bird song in the forest: Su at her family cottage in the Kawartha’s and Joanne in her hometown of New Liskeard, Ontario.

This event is a fundraiser for Public Pastures – Public Interest. We welcome your donations at the door.

A full description of the film can be found here.

To watch the trailer and for more information please visit the film website at http://themessengerdoc.com.

 swallow

FOLLOW THE MESSENGER ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/SongbirdSOSfilm/

Twitter — @themessengerdoc

Lands Act Review – Opportunity to Comment

30 May

The provincial government has given people until June 3 to comment on new proposals concerning the Provincial Lands Act. There are implications for community pastures.

The government held consultations in the 2013, then put the issue on the backburner. Now they plan to introduce legislation and are giving people until June 3 to to comment on the highlights of their proposal.

Click here to read the notice of the final stage of consultation and, following, the Provincial Lands Act Amendment Proposal.

New Resources!

2 May

Please check our Resources Page and our Factsheets – new material has been posted. Also remember that you can find us on Facebook!

Saskatchewan Election: Protecting our Grasslands

22 Mar
With the Saskatchewan provincial election in full swing, and an election date of April 4, 2016, we have created some material for bringing forward the concerns about the PFRA Community Pastures and publicly-owned grasslands.
A handout to give candidates, with recommendations for things they can do. It is a thumbnail sketch of the complexities of the Community Pastures and grasslands issues, but we hope it conveys the essentials.
There are many ways to influence direction at at the time of an election.
  • Talk to the candidates that knock on your door or that you meet at events.Take courage – you have the right to present your views and even a short conversation has an effect.
  • Attend all-candidate forums and ask about the environment, agriculture, public pastures and grasslands, even though other issues seem to be dominating the airwaves.
  • Write a letter or email or make a phone call to your local candidates. Drop by their constituency office and have a chat about  your views.
  • Write a letter to the editor to the newspaper, or local community paper.
  • Put forward your views on social media.
  • Talk to your neighbours.
  • Do a creative video, or just a short simple interview on your camera or smartphone, and post it on You-Tube.
  • Send a message via Twitter
Grasslands could become an election issue!

Reversing the Damage: Report

29 Feb

This report out of the Manitoba CCPA, Reversing the Damage: How the Federal Liberals Can Restore Hope on the the Prairies discusses cuts to federal programs and employees, such as the closure of the PFRA Community Pastures Program (see pages 7-9 of the report). It contains recommendations for ensuring the continued stewardship of best management of the pastures.

Save the Date! PPPI AGM

22 Feb

Save the date – the PPPI Annual General Meeting will be held Saturday March 19 from 10 am to 4 pm, at the United Way Community Room, 1440 Scarth Street, Regina.

An agenda will be available shortly.

Campaign: 1000 Letters to the Premier

20 Mar

This is a request to the many people who expressed concern and interest in the future of the PFRA Community Pastures.

We are at a point where a large scale letter writing campaign is needed as we continue to work towards the continued public ownership and conservation of our pastures. Your letters need not be long. We are hoping to generate over 1000 letters in the next few weeks.

We need to get the message out that the public feels that:

  • It is vitally important to keep the pastures public
  • The public should pay for public values
  • The government must take on this responsibility
  • The public wants to know how the government will ensure that the pastures will continue to be managed for the many important public benefits.

Be sure to address your letters to Premier Wall. Be polite and make sure you ask for a reply.  Below are some points you may wish to talk about. There are also some sample letters here. Make your letters personal, explaining why retaining the pastures are important to you.

To write your letter begin by making some (but not all) of the “Important Points” listed below, and then ask one or two specific questions:
 

  1. “How will your government ensure that the pastures will continue to be managed for [choose your public benefit/issue from the points below]”
  1. “We all recognize that retaining land under public ownership is the highest form of protection for the long term. Please explain your government’s willingness to sell Crown lands that are among the most ecologically important and endangered landscapes in Canada.”

IMPORTANT POINTS
 

The following are several points about the PFRA pastures, some of which you may wish to refer to in your letter:
 

  • These grasslands are not merely agricultural land; they are important for grazing but also represent some of the last large protected areas of grassland on the continent. They must be managed with both grazing and biodiversity in mind.
  • Southern Saskatchewan contains one of the most modified landscapes in North America.
  • Some 80% of our natural landscape in southern Saskatchewan has been lost to development.
  • Only 15% of the natural landscape south of the forest fringe is public land, where public oversight can be provided.
  • It is critically important to preserve these vanishing native grasslands.
  • The PFRA Pastures are the most critically important remaining grasslands in Saskatchewan.
  • The PFRA pastures are a major part of this province’s Representatives Areas Network, a network of ecologically important land and water areas across the province.
  •  Canada has commitments to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to preserve a portion of our landscape in its natural condition and the pastures are a major component of this in Saskatchewan.
  • The Prairies have a greater number of Species at Risk than any other region of Canada.
  • Over 30 Species at Risk are found on the PFRA pastures.
  • Carbon sequestration is an important benefit from native grasslands.
  • Soil and water conservation is provided by PFRA Pastures.
  • The pasture lands have many known heritage sites from Indigenous people and homesteaders. Many of the pastures have not yet been assessed for their archaeological potential or sites of a special nature such as sacred sites.
  • Keeping the lands public is the best way to protect these known and unknown sites.
  • The publicly-owned lands are important to enable Indigenous people to continue practices such as hunting and gathering, and practising respect for sacred sites.
  • These pastures are very important to producers for grazing opportunities. The first ten pastures to be transitioned have already lost 50% of their patrons.
  • PFRA Pastures are important for the local economy.
  • Pasture patrons are necessarily concerned first with their private interests as cattle producers. Unless they receive some support, it is not realistic to expect they will also care for the range of public goods that the PFRA pastures always provided to society as a whole.
  • Full time, qualified pasture managers are critical to the long term management of the pastures.
  • The pastures provide important access for hunting opportunities, generating $70 million dollars annually.
  • The total annual cost of operating the 62 PFRA Pastures is $22 million. The total annual benefits to producers and society is $55 million.
  • Keeping the pastures publicly-owned is the best way to protect the many benefits they provide.
  • Some kind of legislative protection is needed for pastures.
  • The many public benefits from public lands must be recognized and maintained with public dollars.
  •  Producers should not be expected to pay for public benefits.

Whatever points you raise in your letter, be sure to ask the Premier for a response to your question.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE A LETTER.

YOUR SUPPORT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!

GETTING THE LETTER TO THE PREMIER
 

You can mail, e-mail or fax the letter to the Premier.

E-mail: premier@gov.sk.ca, Fax: 306-787-0885, Phone: 306-787-9433

 
A letter sent in the mail carries more weight.