Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Are the Feds Ignoring the Mountain Pine Beetle Impact in Alberta?

The Harper government is big into Mountain Pine Beetle spending in BC but seriously lagging in doing anything about the Alberta infestation. The recent conference on the impact of MPB infestation in Grande Prairie pointed out the damages is already done to the forests in BC and the real need for help there is to assist communities and industry to adapt to the post-beetle reality. I will post on these MPB conference comments from the Grande Prairie conference in the near future once the video tapes of the speeches are on DVD and I have them in hand.

If we do not stop it in Alberta, the experts are suggesting it then spreads and reaches out across the boreal forest throughout the entire country. That is devastation that has impacts beyond forest industry and communities, important as those are, but also in the negative effect on the balance of the planet’s entire ecosystem.

The Alberta Forest Products Association has already complained about the political nature of BC pre-election spending by the Harper government on railway upgrades in the name of MPB action.

I have been working with Glenn Taylor, Mayor of Hinton and the Chair of the Grande Alberta Economic Region, (GAER) on some strategic approaches to help the west central Alberta communities adapt to the reality of MPB on their communities. They are very proactive and we have done a video on Policy Channel explaining what the MPB infestation means and what needs to be done. Local governments need the feds and the province to step up and damn quickly if we are to do anythings effective in dealing with the infestation impacts.

No doubt the BC industry and affected communities need help but the Fed response is reactionary at best. The also need to get proactive in Alberta and start putting some of their efforts and funds in here too. Albertans are Canadians too.