Wolf Awareness is a non-profit Canadian organization dedicated to the conservation of wolves through research and public education about wolf ecology.

Are We Being Trumped?

Date: 1st November 2017

Everyone is now familiar with the “Fake News” epidemic south of the border. It’s a method to degrade facts and information to suggest that there are “alternative” explanations that should be equally considered. This also enters the realm of science when the term “theory” is used. However the word might be used elsewhere, in science it is understood to be “an explanation of the facts”. Science theories change when more facts become available, but facts are still facts.  Because science is self-testing and self-correcting by its very nature, those who don’t like the “facts” must resort to trying to confuse the issue. Let’s take a look at an attempt being used by the Forest Products  Association of Canada (FPAC) to influence MPs and ultimately, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

I’ve written before about the real reasons for Woodland Caribou decline (see Blog on Bounties). Let’s take a look at this current situation. We know a lot about caribou and the most critical component to their survival is habitat. The FPAC is trying to cloud the issue by claiming that there are many other factors to consider besides habitat. This is partially true. Yes, other  factors such as weather and predators influence caribou numbers but the crucial factor is habitat fragmentation.  What causes this? – Human activity such as logging, oil and gas exploration and hydroelectric development.

Now, you might say, “How do you know this, you’re just a blogger”. That’s a fair question and here’s the answer. I read the scientific papers and because it’s peer reviewed science, I accept the conclusions as true. Not maybe – not possibly but true – because of the currently acquired “FACTS”.

One can understand why the FPAC campaign would like to cloud the issue and move it away from habitat. They know that all the provinces and territories are legally bound to protect habitat and develop recovery plans to avoid local extinctions. The industries mentioned above would rather have recovery efforts focused on predation (let’s eliminate those pesky wolves and bears) than on habitat, the loss of which is the real culprit.

Now let’s look at the legal and political side of this issue. The resource extraction industries want the discussion shifted from caribou recovery to the economy and jobs. Understandable, but the issue still remains – caribou decline caused by habitat loss and the legal requirement to fix it!

None of the provinces and territories involved has submitted their recovery plans which were due on October 5th. Don’t politicians have to follow the rules?  Apparently, our federal Minister of the Environment has until April to evaluate the plans. To me, it seems that it will be difficult for McKenna to evaluate plans that are non-existent.

I wonder if anyone would notice if I don’t bother to submit my income tax next year?

-by W. H. “Hank” Halliday

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