Letters to the editor – April 1, 2021

Carbon offset can’t Ignore past practices

This letter is written to Saskatchewan farm groups and provincial and federal politicians from concerned farmers with regards to recent announcements on the federal carbon offset system. It requires farmers to show “quantifiable results above and beyond what is currently being done.”

The federal government just sidelined 90 percent of western Canadian farmers who have been using environmentally friendly practices for decades with those proposed carbon credit offset program clauses.

The questions are:

  • Are you OK with this federal government blocking billions of dollars from western Canadian farmers?
  • What measurable way can farmers increase carbon sequestering to provide the federal government quantifiable results above and beyond what is currently being done?

In our view, this is an expropriation of farmers’ contribution to both the economy and the environment.

Your time and attention to this matter would seem to be urgent on behalf of farmers because they have tasked the commissions through resolutions at the AGMs.

We are asking the farm groups to have a joint press release and/or a press conference as soon as possible to defend farmers’ rights on carbon sequestering.

The province and federal opposition parties have been very quiet on this file. Perhaps it is time to speak before it is too late.

Vicki Dutton, Paynton, Sask.

Miles Heck, Leader, Sask.

Larry Weber, Saskatoon, Sask.

Dave Marzolf, Central Butte, Sask.

Carbon tax not that bad

Just had our 2020 income tax prepared for filing. We are getting $825 off our tax payable. What is so terrible about the federal carbon tax?

Tom Findlay,

Moose Jaw, Sask

Hunting access must be maintained

The Alberta Conservation Association’s planned survey on how landowners feel about hunters is a good idea (Feb. 18 Western Producer, page 17).

According to a 2007 Saskatchewan economic analysis, hunters from other provinces and the United States spend $15 million each year. Saskatchewan hunters spend $55 million. Since the passing of a tough-minded Trespass Act in Saskatchewan, whose regulations are proving difficult to draft, out-of-province hunters are discouraged from coming to Saskatchewan in national hunting magazines.

Of course, we must protect a person’s property and sense of peace, whether rural or urban, whether from hunters or anyone else. Yet the frequent claim that hunting on farms or rangelands is like coming on one’s city lawn does not quite work for me.

My wife and I live on 80 acres and have another 160 acres 100 kilometres away that we lease to a neighbour for grazing. When the cows are out, we open the gates and welcome hunters to pursue ducks on the many ponds. We would feel our day needlessly disrupted if we received call after call for permission. The open gates also mean less fence repair from deer or moose getting tangled.

On our home 80, we and our neighbours greatly value the no hunting within 500 metres. This and similar restrictions need to be enforced by trained law-enforcement personnel — it’s not our job. Unfortunately, there are too few conservation officers, and breaches do happen.

The word hunting is often treated as one-size-fits-all. For a hunter who has spotted geese and plans to set up hundreds of decoys in the wee hours of the morning, permission is important for the success of the hunt itself. The same goes for hunting from a deer stand.

Yet what of the slough 300 metres in on non-posted stubble field? What harm is there from a hunter sneaking in with a dog at his or her side, when no house is in sight? It would take far longer to track down an owner, even with high-tech apps, than the hunt itself.

And what of the deer that fell within sight across the fence? Game regulations and moral responsibility require hunters to recover shot game where reasonably possible. Incongruous regulations can become a form of entrapment.

Hunter numbers are declining in large part because we’ve all become decidedly more unfriendly to one another. Landowners don’t always know the rules. Responsible hunters feel unwelcome and stay home to watch hunting on TV. Meanwhile, misdemeanours keep happening.

As one landowner said: “Just because we own or lease the land does not mean we have to keep everyone off it.” Could we not foster an understanding that some uses of land are so benign that brief and non-invasive access can be understood?

Many European countries have right-to-roam legislation that respects landowners, property and citizens. Are we too preoccupied with perceived rights and do we undervalue community responsibilities? As long as provinces sell hunting licenses, should legal use of the resource not be facilitated?

Could we enlist hunters to be part of a solution? Hunters could be the eyes and ears on the land. They could assist with jobs for the benefit of wildlife, the landowner and hunters themselves.

Joe Schmitz,

Grandora, Sask.

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