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Prouty calls out Barnes on EPO statements

Posted on September 30, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

Letter: Mr.Barnes on the record.

Wildrose MLA Barnes tries to manipulate the truth or ignore it to win back the leaseholders that support and fund the Wildrose Alliance Party (WRA).  Mr. Barnes, your statements on the Saskatchewan policy regarding lease lands is on record in Alberta Hansard. Your leader, Danielle Smith is also on  record in Alberta Hansard telling the world that 1500 new wells are approved on lease land in Special Areas alone every year.

The truth about the Emergency Protection Order on Sage Grouse is a result of a lawsuit against the Federal Government by Ecojustice, the Alberta Wilderness Association and others back in 2008, to protect the Sage Grouse.  A Federal Court judge ruled the protection be put in place under Federal Species At Risk Act (SARA). Had the protection taken place under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA), negatively affected parties would be compensated as set out in ALSA.  Compensation is not a requirement in SARA, but Mr. Barnes and friends get what they asked for on this one. The Wildrose lawyer funded by the Western Stock Growers and the Alberta Grazing Lease Association said all along they wanted the courts to rule on such issues. The ideals in ALSA, like compensation for any negative effects, and years of consultation to come up with a “Made in Alberta” solution, were sacrificed for political gain by the very political party and groups whining now. Why have we not heard any endorsements of the court ruling the WRA party lawyer? Mr. Barnes, you now have a Federal Court ruling by a judge thousands of miles away, exactly one of the points you campaigned on.

Your comment in your column about Saskatchewan selling leased lands is absolutely brilliant. You talk about building individual wealth by selling the leases to residents and leaseholders. This policy would definitely give residents who do not receive any benefit from surface revenues on their public land the opportunity to build wealth. Selling the leases to become private land, would capitalize the surface lease revenues into the purchase price. Imagine what a quarter section with $10,000 in surface revenue would sell for. This land would sell for many times its agricultural value and see a lot of land leave the agriculture base, but the large majority of your provincial constituents live in urban areas would benefit greatly by the windfall revenues brought in by the land sales. They would even have the chance to buy some land. The other big bonus is the very people who have been claiming property rights on “Public Lands” would have the opportunity to actually buy and pay once and for all monetarily for those perceived rights. The important point that immediately arises is these are “public lands” and there is a great deal of resistance by Albertans to get rid of “public lands”.

Glad you are “Setting The Record Straight” Mr. Barnes.

Adair Prouty

Medicine Hat

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