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Evan Saugstad: Caribou politics, plain and simple – Alaska Highway News

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Last week, I wrote about the prospects of Chetwynd retaining both sawmills once B.C.’s Chief Forester completes their Timber Supply Reviews (TSR) for the Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area (TSA) and Tree Farm License 48 (TFL), and issues a new Annul Allowable Cut (AAC).

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This review begins a requirement of the Section 11 Partnership Agreement (Agreement) that removed 700,000 hectares from industrial development, including a significant amount of the timber harvesting landbase.

So why did this all happen? Why were local communities, local industries, local workers, and other local stakeholders so shut out of and barred from this important decision-making process?

How could B.C. add thousands of hectares of new park lands without involving local people, businesses, industries, and communities?

How could decisions be made transferring management of hundreds of thousands of hectares of public lands to two local First Nations that have publicly stated they do not need to involve anyone outside of their own memberships in this management?

How can Prime Minister Justin and Premier John agree to such a one-sided Agreement that will be so detrimental to the other local communities and their residents?

Politics, I say, pure politics.

This decision will not cost either the Federal Liberals or Provincial NDP one seat in their respective governments. Neither party has a chance of ever electing a member to their respective governments from B.C.’s northeast, so they do not care what happens to those who do not vote for them.

Premier Horgan insists this Agreement is required to hold off the Feds from imposing more draconian measures. This at the same time as Quebec tells the Feds to bug out of their caribou conservation planning.

Quebec has clearly stated they have no intention of implementing a caribou conservation plan for one of their herds, as it would be cost prohibitive. Let them be extirpated they say, as we have enough caribou elsewhere.

And the Feds response?

Silence, as they acknowledge Quebec is free to make its own decisions, and it’s special.

So, what gives? Why not the same for B.C. and the Peace River area?

Both the federal Liberals and provincial NDP are tied to “environmental” groups that wish to exclude humans from our rural landscapes.

The B.C. Minister of Environment once headed up the BC Sierra Club.

Our Prime Minister’s former chief of staff and current political confidant once headed up the Canadian chapter of the World Wildlife Fund and one of his current Cabinet Ministers used to lead Equiterre, one Quebec’s environmental organizations, and worked for Greenpeace Quebec.

Politically, the Feds understand they cannot force Quebec to spend millions and put Quebecers out of work to save a few caribou from being extirpated in one location, when they have many caribou elsewhere. Not worth going to war in a place that will cost them votes, so much easier to find a cause in B.C. that has provincial support and that does not affect those who might vote for them.

Enter the B.C. Peace River country. Here they can do anything they wish, as they will not lose one elected member as a result.

In fact, it is just the opposite. Both governments will increase their chance of being re-elected by implementing this Agreement.

Many environmental groups are upset that our Provincial and Federal governments are approving pipelines, coal mines, and cutting trees. Some First Nations are also upset for the same reasons and claim that both governments are abandoning their reconciliation principles.

Signing this Agreement with two First Nations under the guise of caribou management, one that transfers land management rights and prohibits industry from operating over a large tract of public lands, will sell well to both audiences.

Enviros will be happier that they are one step closer to achieving a park stretching from Yellowstone to Yukon. They are now more likely to vote for our current governments, no matter which riding they reside.

Both governments can claim they are doing something for our environment.

Both governments can also claim they are doing something about indigenous reconciliation.

WMFN and SFN are now happy that they will be able to assert defacto control over these lands, as it has become abundantly clear that our governments will not say no to what either wish. Other indigenous peoples will be happy to use this Agreement as the minimum they can expect when it comes to land management negotiations within their own traditional areas.

As to any negative economic effects on WMFN and SFN as a result of this agreement; they need not worry as they have independent funding from senior governments to rely on, and when needed, other industries to support them as they so demand.

Although we heard governments apologizing for the way this Agreement came to pass, and that it would not be repeated, it is, and right before our very eyes.

For all you that expect governments to listen to your concerns about handing over thousands of hectares of lands at Charlie Lake and Red Creek, don’t hold your breath waiting for government to hear your concerns. That consultation is likely just as big a sham.

My partingcomments: which government has stated that non-band members will still be able to hunt on any lands subject to the Section 11 Partnership Agreement? They have clearly stated that the general public can fish, walk, climb, jump up and down and maybe, just maybe, snowmobile in some areas, but total silence about hunting.

Which government has promised any compensation for those losing their jobs, businesses, and homes? Details seem to be very short on these subjects.

Agreements negotiated in secret with one segment of society that favour one segment of society will do nothing for reconciliation or the elimination of racism.

How can it?

Evan Saugstad is a former mayor of Chetwynd, and lives in Fort St. John.

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WATCH: For the record, Tim Hudak is not returning to politics – BradfordToday

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Tim Hudak spent more than two decades as a provincial politician at Queen’s Park, including five years as leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party. He is now CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), a position he has held since 2016.

Would the former Opposition Leader ever consider a political comeback?

Hudak was asked that question during a recent appearance on Inside the Village, a news podcast produced by Village Media. His answer was pretty unequivocal. 

You can watch the full interview here, or download the episode wherever you find your favourite podcasts.​

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Marc Garneau on enjoying political life after cabinet ouster, writing his memoirs – The Globe and Mail

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Marc Garneau says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered him an opportunity to be Canada’s ambassador in France, but he turned it down for reasons that he was not going to discuss.Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Had things gone as he hoped, Marc Garneau would be foreign affairs minster today, carrying on with a run in the cabinets of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that began when the Liberals won power in 2015.

But the 73-year-old former astronaut – once one of the highest-profile members of Mr. Trudeau’s cabinets for his roles as transport minister for five years and foreign affairs minister for nine months – was left out after the Liberals won a minority government last fall, a turn that caught many by surprise.

In an interview, the MP for the Montreal riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount declined to say whether he would have run for his fifth term had he known he wouldn’t make it back to cabinet.

“Obviously, when I went into the election I was hoping to continue my work in foreign affairs, but I am also grounded in reality and know every new government is a new decision point for the prime minister to decide how he wants to compose his government. I was aware of these things, but I decided that I wanted to run again,” Mr. Garneau said from his Parliament Hill office.

Now, Mr. Garneau says, things are fine, and he is enjoying his roles as a chair, joint chair and member of various Parliament Hill committees.

“I am fully occupied with things that I do care deeply about so you move on in life and you enjoy what you have the chance to do, and as long as you feel the desire to serve you continue to do that.”

His roles include chair of the standing committee on Indigenous and Northern affairs, and joint chair of a Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying.

“For me to have had an opportunity to work, in essence, on reconciliation through this standing committee and to work on a topic that is so important it can affect everybody, which is medical assistance in dying, those are very rewarding new responsibilities I am enjoying tremendously.”

For seven years of his political career, he was asking the questions on committees as a member of the opposition, and then for six years he was taking questions as a cabinet minister. “I was the one, if you would like, in the hot seat,” he said. Being the chair is a new experience. “It does require you to have a certain level of impartiality so the committee can function properly in the way it should and everyone has a voice. That was a bit of a learning curve for me.”

Peter Trent, the former mayor of the Montreal suburb of Westmount, is a long-time friend of Mr. Garneau. He was so taken aback by Mr. Garneau being left out of cabinet that he wrote a column for The Montreal Gazette that ran last October under the headline: “Marc Garneau, the ‘anti-politician,’ deserves better.” It was sharply critical of Mr. Trudeau’s judgment.

But, he says, Mr. Garneau has taken his fate well. “He’s accepted what happened in a very Zen way,” Mr. Trent said. “The rest of us aren’t as Zen and still harbour a strong resentment as to the way he was treated.”

Mr. Garneau is writing his memoirs, drafting a narrative on a life story that saw the Quebec City native serve in the navy and become, in 1984, the first Canadian in space when he served as a payload specialist on the Challenger space shuttle. He returned to space on subsequent missions, and was president of the Canadian Space Agency.

But elected politics beckoned. Mr. Garneau was first elected to Parliament in 2008, while Stephen Harper was prime minister. In 2012, he ran for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party, competing with, among others, his eventual boss at the cabinet table. He eventually left the race and endorsed Mr. Trudeau, who won.

Mr. Garneau stepped up work on his memoirs over a few weeks in December and January while recovering from hip-replacement surgery.

“I got quite a bit done,” he said. “I got the chapters from the beginning of my life up until I entered politics done, and I have had those reviewed by my dear wife and my daughter so those are in pretty good shape.” He does not have an agent or publisher.

When he was left out of cabinet, Mr. Garneau says his constituents and the media reacted more intensely than colleagues on Parliament Hill. “Here in Ottawa, I think people understand the way things go and that these are possible outcomes.”

Mr. Garneau says the Prime Minister offered him an opportunity to be Canada’s ambassador in France, but he turned it down for reasons that he was not going to discuss.

As for seeking another term, he notes the next election is three years away. “My health is good,” he said. “We’ll see.”

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Ex-Wildrose leader Danielle Smith reannounces UCP leadership bid as next step in Alberta politics – Global News

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Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith reannounced that she will run in the upcoming United Conservative Party leadership race on Thursday.

She thanked Kenney for the work he has done for Alberta’s energy industry and added she wouldn’t mind seeing Kenney stay on as premier until a new leader has been elected.

Read more:

UCP begins search for new leader with Jason Kenney stepping down

“I want to start off by thanking Premier Jason Kenney for all the work that he’s done over the last number of years.

“I’ve decided to jump back into politics, seeking the leadership of the UCP. That is just a continuation of my last political life,” Smith said.


Click to play video: 'Jason Kenney announces intention to step down as UCP leader'



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Jason Kenney announces intention to step down as UCP leader


Jason Kenney announces intention to step down as UCP leader

Smith spared no time getting into her platform, saying she will fix and restore faith in Alberta politics. She also said she will attempt to unite the UCP and pointed to the large number of people who registered to vote in Kenney’s leadership review.

“If you look at what happened during the UCP leadership contest, there were a lot of people who got brought into the UCP who had never been in politics before and I think that’s what has occurred,” Smith said.

“I think there has been a lot of division that has happened between friends and family, and we need to stop dividing people along identity lines… We are stronger united and that holds for our conservative movement as well.”

Read more:

Kenney’s plan to step down as UCP leader shows how hard merging 2 parties is: political commentator

Smith also said she wants to see more people run in the leadership race and noted she respects the role of individual MLAs in Alberta politics.

“I would love to see Todd Lowen and Drew Barnes throw their name in the race for UCP leadership. We need to start unifying the movement again and that’s going to require all hands on deck over the next couple of years,” Smith said.


Click to play video: 'UCP caucus meeting to discuss future after Jason Kenney announces plan to step down'



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UCP caucus meeting to discuss future after Jason Kenney announces plan to step down


UCP caucus meeting to discuss future after Jason Kenney announces plan to step down

But Smith also spent time talking about her own credentials, saying she has a lot of experience as the former party leader for the Wildrose Party, which merged with the UCP in 2017.

She also talked about her time as a former radio host on 770 CHQR as proof she can “take the heat” in Alberta politics.

Read more:

Ex-Wildrose leader Danielle Smith returns to Alberta politics, will vote against Kenney leadership

“I’m not going to enter a contest thinking I’m going to come in second place… This is a real opportunity for the UCP to make sure that we’re selling memberships, that we’re getting people excited again.

“I can handle the heat. I have handled it for a lot of years, and that’s the way I conducted myself on the radio,” Smith said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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