‘Happy medium’ needs to be struck in caribou plan

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The Alberta government’s plan to suspend caribou conservation efforts is being applauded by the president of the High Prairie Oilmen’s Association.

“It’s great but it’s just putting it off,” says Arlen Quartly.

Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee wrote in her column March 28 that “our government wrote the federal government to inform them that Alberta will suspend conservation considerations pending a comprehensive economic-impact analysis and further support from the federal government.

“We will not allow northern communities to be left behind because of federal rules around caribou protection,” she adds.

Quartly believes the rules are made by the federal government without taking into consideration the social and economic ramifications.

“There has to be a happy medium,” says Quartly. “That’s huge.”

Any rules on protecting caribou habitat which restrict the oil and gas industry from doing business will harm the communities which rely on them for jobs, he adds.

Larivee also recognizes the impact such a decision would have.

“We know that Albertans deserve a plan that protects their jobs and the economy,” she says.

Larivee adds everyone must work together toward a common goal.

“Together we can find the right balance. Deferring range plans does not mean that progress won’t be made on caribou protection. We will continue to work with industry to identify ways to protects jobs and caribou herds. . .”

Indigenous leaders have also expressed concern.

“I want to assure you that we will work with and listen to First Nations and Métis communities’ concerns and ideas for caribou restoration,” says Larivee.

“Supporting jobs for Alberta’s working people and families is our priority,” she adds.


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