UCP land sale plan comes under fire
‘Large tracts of land are necessary for the survival of fish, wildlife and biodiversity’
EDMONTON Alberta anglers and hunters are slamming a UCP plan to sell off Crown land in the Peace Country should the party win the 2019 election.
“Deeming the land identified as being for sale as ‘unproductive’ and turning it into ‘productive agricultural land’ should raise red flags for all Albertans as large tracts of land are necessary for the survival of fish, wildlife and biodiversity in general,” said a Wednesday news release from the Alberta Fish and Game Association (AFGA).
It’s the latest organization to criticize the plan first brought forward by UCP Leader Jason Kenney in November. He said he’s considering a land sell-off similar to a program under former premier Ed Stelmach.
The land at the heart of the proposal is in Mackenzie County. Former sales comprised close to 120,000 acres in blocks spanning across the county, from just north of Carcajou and northeast to Wilson Prairie, around the La Crete area.
Last week a group of Treaty 8 chiefs travelled to Edmonton to oppose the proposal.
“It is government’s responsibility to steward the land for all Albertans — an action that does not involve selling it,” said AFGA president Doug Butler in a statement.
OPIOID COMMISSION’S WORK FAR FROM OVER, SAYS MINISTER
A report released Tuesday suggested Alberta has entered a plateau phase in the opioid crisis with fewer deaths being reported. But the province is still working “on all fronts,” says Alberta’s health minister.
“While a plateau is good news, the fact that two people a day on average are still dying is certainly devastating,” Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said at a Wednesday news conference.
Nearly 500 people died due to fentanyl overdoses in the first three quarters of 2018, said the provincial report. The latest data found there were 158 fentanyl-related deaths in the third quarter ending Sept. 30. That’s down from the 169 and 167 deaths reported in the first and second quarters respectively.
The Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission was established in May 2017. In April, the province announced the commission’s work would be extended by 18 months until November 2019.
“I know that there are a number of initiatives underway,” Hoffman said. “I doubt that a year from now we’ll be at the point where nobody has died of an opioid overdose. I hope that we are, but this is … impacting all communities.
“I imagine that we’ll need to do more work in the months following (November 2019).”