STEWART: still banging the caribou issue - it is key

So, by now almost everybody who reads this paper will realize that we definitely have a problem in terms of the caribou in this part of British Columbia but the problem is not just here it’s everywhere.  Caribou have existed for a long time and they have done so because of deep snow non trouble from large dangerous predators and the like to be left alone.

This brings up the problem that is being faced across this country but more specifically in this part of British Columbia and Alberta.  We have an oil and Gas Exploration ministry, we have a huge forestry industry, and finally we have a recreation problem.  There’s no doubt that the oil and gas make roads and cut lines to get where they’re going and that means that the land open two creatures such as wolves, cougars and grizzly bears all and like the taste of caribou meat.  We also have forced the people cutting huge cut blocks of land and roads to get to them.  Now we also have tourism which brings in thousands of people and lots of money to the provinces.  These three factors are not going to go way what is going away will be the caribou.  

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Oil and gas exploration, seismic lines make roads and easy access to where the caribou live.  Forestry cut down trees and in doing that killed lichens and small grass is that the caribou eat.  No food no caribou.  Tourism brings in all kinds of people summer and winter but mostly the problem is in the wintertime because these tourists must get where they’re going usually by cross country skis and a pack down a roadway into the interior of the bush making easy access.  They also believe trails of garbage which is not good for anybody included caribou.

So, what’s the solution?  Does the government stop giving out oil and gas leases for permission to drill?  That would be in a lot of money.  We’re a country of forestry do we stop cutting down trees?  We also make a lot of money because there’s one person has suggested we live in a postcard here.  People of often commented when I show them pictures of the area where I live and as the first thing they say, “my goodness we live in a postcard.” And they’re right and beautiful here so people want to come and see it to make a good money to come and see it.  Now are we going to stop people from coming of those tourists?

So this is the dilemma we can stop all the oil and gas, the lobbying and the tourism and save the caribou but I don’t think it’s going to happen because I don’t think our politicians have the will to act. It’s a juggling system and it’s also a system to the provincial jurisdiction.  The Federal government can step on the toes of the provincial government without causing a row and it’s that do a system that’s causing the problem.  If somebody in power in power in Ottawa decided on a solution it would be met with anger and court challenges by the provinces.

So, this is the dilemma that we’re facing.  But we’re not facing it obviously, but the caribou will be if a solution is not found in soon.  Added to all that is the problem that the politicians traditionally have no idea about a situation that the caribou are in right now.  It boils down to management.  Who’s in charge?  Who can make decisions?  Who’s going to carry out the decisions?

Next week I will present the solution using the Grimshaw Formula.  It would be a drastic pill to swallow for many but it’s the only solution the way I see.

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