Tag Archives: federal government

PASTURES PETITION CALLS FOR MULTI-USE CONSERVATION NETWORK

20 Sep

PUBLIC PASTURES – PUBLIC INTEREST

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday September 20, 2017

 

PASTURES PETITION CALLS FOR MULTI-USE CONSERVATION NETWORK

Regina, Saskatchewan:  A petition tabled in Parliament today by MP Wayne Stetski calls on the federal government to work with livestock producers, First Nations and Métis organizations, local committees and conservation groups to restore conservation programming to the former federal Community Pastures. These pastures are recognized widely as being among the continent’s most ecologically important remnants of native prairie, which not only provide health and cultural benefits to Saskatchewan people, but are also home to more than 30 endangered species.

 According to the World Wildlife Fund’s “Living Planet Report” released last week, “natural prairie grassland is considered the most heavily degraded terrestrial habitat in the world.” The report goes on to state that “populations of grassland birds have seen their numbers plunge on average by 69 per cent since 1970 . . . .The most significant threat to the region’s wildlife is habitat loss, as the grasslands have been converted into agricultural fields or divided by other development.” Living Planet Report Canada http://www.wwf.ca/newsroom/reports/lprc.cfm

 When asked about the loss of conservation programming for these rare ecosystems, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Minister, Lawrence Macaulay, has repeated the position of Harper government Minister, Gerald Ritz, saying that the community pasture program is no longer needed because it has “achieved its objectives.”

Macaulay suggests that environmental legislation including Species at Risk Act will on its own replace the pre-existing grassland biodiversity and conservation programming, and compel private ranchers now leasing the lands to manage for ecological objectives and species at risk.

The WWF report underscores the deficiencies in the past and current federal government’s approach to conservation. “The rapid decline of grassland animals such as the greater sage-grouse and burrowing owl have shown that species at risk legislation on its own is not enough,” said Trevor Herriot, grassland advocate and co-chair of Public Pastures—Public Interest. “It is disingenuous to suggest that private livestock producers will have the capacity to protect biodiversity, species at risk and carbon sequestration without support from government.”

 “The federal government has an opportunity to utilize contributions from both the environment and agriculture ministries and play a positive leadership role in recognizing the shortcomings of previous federal government’s decision to eliminate the PFRA program and the supports it was providing for the ecological care of the pastures.”

 “The ranching businesses on their own cannot be expected to manage a mix of habitat for so many prairie species at risk. Without significant federal support for conservation initiatives, as outlined in the petition, the trends identified in the WWF Report will not improve.”

 Public Pastures – Public Interest is a network of local and international individuals and organizations working for the preservation and sustainable use of Crown pasturelands and grasslands.

 

Trevor Herriot Cell: 306-585-1674

E-mail: public4pastures@gmail.com

Website: https://pfrapastureposts.wordpress.com

 

Wayne Stetski Office: 613-995-7246

 

E-Petition e-927 (Land use) to Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, presented in the Canadian Parliament by Wayne Stetski, MP on September 20, 2017

Whereas:

·       Canada’s old growth prairie is representative of the most endangered and least protected ecosystems on the planet (The Hohhot Declaration, July 2008; Dan Kraus, October 24, 2016) and provides a vast array of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, species-at-risk habitat, soil and water conservation;

·       Retaining the public ownership and ecological integrity of the former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) Pastures answers Canada’s obligations to our international commitments including the UN Convention on Biodiversity and Aichi Accord, Paris Accord, the Migratory Bird Convention as well as our national biodiversity strategy, Pathway to Canada Target 1; and

·       Retaining public ownership and ecological integrity of the former PFRA Pastures aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, contributes to Canada’s commitment to Indigenous peoples under the numbered Treaties and responds to Reconciliation efforts.

We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work with livestock producers, First Nations and Métis organizations, local committees and conservation organizations to create a multi-use prairie conservation network on all former PFRA Community Pastures that meets ranchers’ needs for grazing and protects Canada’s 75-year investment in the ecological wellbeing of this important ecosystem and its biodiversity, treaty, climate change, and heritage values.

 https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-927

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Making a Difference for the Community Pastures and our Grasslands

16 Feb

We have received word that there is a possibility that the new federal government may consider reviewing the Harper decision to dump the PFRA pastures system. However, we are told that, for that to happen, our elected MPs, and the Minister of Agriculture Canada in particular, must hear about it from concerned citizens.

So we are asking everyone to send letters to the Minister of Agriculture, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, as well as the Hon. Ralph Goodale and the Prime Minister as soon as possible (see addresses below).

We have a brief window of opportunity to convey our deep concerns over the demise of the PFRA Pastures in Saskatchewan and to ask for the federal government to halt the transfer of the pasture lands and conduct a full review of the Harper government’s decision.

Your letters need not be long and detailed. A simple approach is to ask the federal government to halt the transfer of these pastures to the province of Saskatchewan which is not recognizing, managing or investing in the value of public goods on these vanishing grasslands.

We have heard from government sources that it important to emphasize the climate change benefits of native grassland but you should use your own words and choose any of the points listed below stating why these grasslands are important to you (e.g. climate change mitigation, conservation, Species at Risk, hunting, etc.) Tell them you want to live in a Canada that protects endangered landscapes and sustainable agriculture initiatives like the PFRA system always did.

We would also like people to request a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of the risks to the natural and human heritage in the PFRA Pastures, in accordance with The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

It is very important that you include your full name and address, even if you are sending an email. Politicians always note the location where correspondence comes from. Be sure to request a reply to your letter.

Below are some points you may wish to reference in your letter. We suggest you select two or three and use your own words.

–    The Community Pasture lands are not “just agricultural lands.”

–   These pastures contain the largest and best managed grasslands in Saskatchewan.

–   Some 80% of our natural landscape in southern Saskatchewan has been lost to development.

–   These pastures are part of Canada’s commitment to its 2020 Biodiversity Goals, in accordance with the Global Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

–   Prairie grasslands are vital elements of the public trust every bit as precious as our northern forests and lakes

–   The prairies have more Species at Risk than any other region of Canada.

–   Over 30 Species At Risk are found on the pastures.

–   Carbon sequestration is an important benefit of native grasslands.

–   Soil and water conservation is provided by the pastures.

–   Pastures contain many heritage sites from indigenous people and homesteaders.

–   Pastures provide important hunting opportunities, generating $70 million annually.

–   Keeping the pastures publicly owned is the best way to protect the many benefits they provide.

–   Indigenous rights to access the land based on international declarations would be harmed by privatization of the land.

–   Producers should not be expected to pay for managing the land for public benefits.

–  The many public benefits should be maintained and enhanced with public dollars.

–  The Canadian people’s 75 year investment in the Community Pastures could be lost by eliminating the federal support for Community Pastures.

Address your letters to:

The Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca

Send copies to the PM and Ministers listed:

The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and MP for Regina-Wascana

ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

carolyn.bennett@parl.gc.ca

The Right  Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

If you send your letter by regular mail, all mailing addresses are: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6

No postage is required on any mail addressed to the House of Commons.

Many thanks, for your support. We believe we have a chance to make a difference with this letter campaign. Your letters are very important and could help turn the tide.

Sage Grouse Protection Controversial

19 Mar

The Western Producer has interviewed ranchers about the federal Protection Order for the greater sage grouse. This article, Protection order sparks fear among ranchers, shows some of the fears and misunderstanding out there.

[Rancher Hargrave] does not accept habitat loss as the primary reason the birds are disappearing. The greater threats to the birds are predators such as coyotes and hawks and diseases such as West Nile virus, she added.

Hargrave believes the federal government came under pressure and agreed to the emergency protection order when conservation groups, took the issue to court. A federal court judge ruled that government cannot ignore the critical habitat needs of species at risk.

Trevor Herriot addresses a few sides:

So far, we have a commitment of millions of dollars to let the Calgary Zoo try captive breeding of the birds, and ranchers all over south-eastern Alberta and south-western Saskatchewan severely ticked off and feeling like the government and conservation groups never listen to them. […]

To be clear, the conservation community was as surprised as the ranchers have been over the approach that Environment Canada has taken.  And most people concerned about the species are wondering why the lion’s share of the money seems to be going to a zoo for captive breeding.