This week featured two great sessions, both featuring independent and civil society representatives providing very honest opinions as the committee works towards finishing the National Conservation Plan report. On April 23rd the witnesses were Lisa King, Director, Industry Relations Corporation Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; Larry Innes, Legal Counsel; Ron Bonnett, President of Canadian Federation of Agriculture; Alison Woodley, National Conservation Director of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society; Richard Phillips, Executive Director of the Grain Growers of Canada. A key factual takeaway was that it takes time for wetlands specifically as productive wetlands to fully recover even if they go through reclamation processes and it can require a thousand years. The Aboriginal representatives requested more assistance in establishing their own monitoring programs and for more legitimate consultation opportunities and a framework for consultations that include consistent targets.
On April 25th the witnesses were Arne Mooers, Biology Professor from Simon Fraser University; Kim Barrett, Senior Terrestrial Ecologist with Conservation Halton, Doug Chorney, President of Keystone Agricultural Producers; and Darrell Crabbe, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation. Mooers argued for full implementation of SARA, while the agricultural representatives recommended financial incentives to help private landowners care for habitat conservation.
These two meetings had a few takeaways focused more on agriculture and the relationships between private property owners and wildlife.