Abandoned Community Pastures At Risk #cdnpoli #skpoli

The last remnants of a unique ecosystem on Earth are entering what is potentially their last years of natural existence. This will lead to the extinctions of some plants and animals that exist only on the Canadian prairies. Extinctions destabilize an ecosystem, and it’s an ecosystem where humans cannot be assured of long-term survival if it becomes destabilized.

The Conservatives removed protection for the community pastures in an apparent effort to privatize the land. The Sask Party, instead of putting the land under provincial management, has opted to sell off the land, following in the Conservative Party’s wishes. This is against the interest of Canadians, and of most of the ranchers and farmers who’ve used the pasture land over the decades they’ve been in the public trust.

Trevor Harriot in the Globe and Mail:

As for the program having achieved its goals [according to Ritz], the need for soil conservation and managing ecosystems in the public interest does not simply go away.

Press release sent my way today:

For Immediate Release:

April 17, 2013

Public Pastures – Public Interest

Uniting to Save Saskatchewan’s Community Pastures

Joint Venture Video Release

In April of 2012 the federal government announced it was divesting itself of 2.3 million acres of PFRA community pastures, 1.78 million of which are located in Saskatchewan. The control for these pastures has now reverted back to the prairie provinces and in response the Saskatchewan government has announced they will be seeking to sell or lease these lands to the current pasture patrons. With rising land values putting the purchase of these lands far beyond the reach of most patrons, exceeding their ability to run a financially viable operation, patrons are looking to find an alternative solution. Other stakeholders affected by this decision are looking to ensure a sustainable environmental action plan for the land is continued, safeguarding the continued health of the ecosystem and the 32 species at risk that reside there.

To help communicate this message, the various stakeholders (Patrons, First Nations, Academic and Wildlife/Environmental groups) have been meeting over the past several months to discuss their common concerns and encourage the two levels of government to reconsider their position on the importance of preserving and sustaining our community pastures. The result is a collaborative and inclusive video showcasing stakeholder concerns and their belief that, in order to ensure a positive outcome for all, they must work together to find a viable solution.

It is their hope this video will also help communicate the message to stakeholders not yet involved and encourage them to join the collaborative effort towards protecting out public interests, and maintaining current and long term sustainable management of our Community Pastures.

For more information on this video and the joint initiative please contact any of the following:

* Trevor Herriot, Public Pastures – Public Interest, Regina, trevorherriot@gmail.com , home 306-585-1674
* Senator Roland Crowe – First Nations representative, 306-539-9200
* Joanne Brochu – Patrons representative, jbrochu@sasktel.net , cell 306-255-7602


Conservatives Abandon Community Pasture Protection

If the Conservatives removed protection on all fish in the ocean, do you think there’d be an outcry of concern? What if they allowed every old tree to be cut down, because we could just plant new ones by hand? Arrogance is the assumption that humans have figured out how to do everything by hand better than nature does without even trying.

There’s an open forum in Regina today (Friday), to help people connect with others who are concerned about the privatization of previously protected public pasture prairie.

You should be concerned about it too, whether you live in SK, or in Toronto, or St. John’s. Like the state of the fisheries and oceans is a concern to the people of the prairies, so too is the state of the grasslands to all other Canadians. Without some of the natural prairies left for future people to preserve from development, we’ll have snuffed out a biologically diverse and important habitat, and ruined the economy for untold scores of people yet to come.

It was costing us only $8M to get $58M worth of benefits from the protected community pastures managed by PFRA. “A darn good deal” – Candace Savage, author on the plains.

The province for now holds the land, poised to sell it at “market” rates. How can the market reflect the irreplaceable value of land and wetlands unmodified by human plows? Simply, it will not, and history will not judge our mistaken removal of protection kindly.

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Monsanto And Why You’ll Care

I was surprised when talking with some fellow Occupiers the other day that they were unaware of what Monsanto corporation makes, and why it’s a threat to human and plant life. I explained it this way:

WARNING: The following is suitable for small children and mature audiences. Some people may be extremely disturbed after viewing. Political action is advised.

Regina Beach

Monsanto is a chemicals company that attained fame for producing “Roundup”. They’ve since created Genetically Modified Organisms like Roundup-Ready Canola (BT-Cotton, GMO flax, etc.) with the idea that Roundup can be sprayed on a field of GMO plants, and only the broad-leaf weeds will die. Their excuse for doing this is that it helps feed the world. The costs include modified soil fertility, probable risks to our food supply from unintended GMO effects, and chemical health effects. The financial effects on farmers include the need for purchase of more Roundup, required seed buying each year (no seed saving allowed under license), and an annual licensing fee for using the GMO seed (which tends to spread by itself, and contaminated farms must pay Monsanto for unintentionally growing their GMO-weeds). Monsanto encourages farmers to rat-out their neighbours suspected of growing GMO crops without also paying the annual license fee.

There’ve been thousands of suicides blamed on BT-cotton, in India. A Saskatchewan farmer named Percy Schmizer has spent the last two decades fighting Monsanto in court, with some success.

A little over a year ago, Percy gave a rousing speech at the UofR that I was fortunate enough to attend and take notes for.

You should also know that Europe has banned many GMO products (due to health and plant-life risks), and so the growth of GMOs in Canada limits our export markets to people who do not live in Europe. This is possibly why a scientist in Saskatchewan went rogue and used school children to contaminate farms in SK with GMO “Triffid” flax. The issue is now forced, with Canada already very contaminated with Monsanto’s “technology” that just happens to be a chunk of our food supply. It is quite literally out of a sci-fi disaster novel, except that it’s real life, unfolding before our eyes.

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