‘Farming, forestry and fracking’

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Peace River-Westlock Member of Parliament Arnold Viersen paid a visit to town council last week to provide an update on what he’s been working on in Ottawa. Most of what concerns his riding has to do with “The three Fs – farming, forestry and fracking.”

The biggest of those he said, is the caribou range plan. This is the federally-mandated, but provincially-developed conservation plan for the woodland caribou that has industry and municipalities worried.

“Probably nothing is going to impact northern Alberta like this,” Viersen said. He added that he has talked to the minister (Catherine McKenna) about it.

“It’s a work in progress is what she’s telling me.”

As for the new marijuana legislation, Viersen said it has passed the House and is now in the Senate.

Municipalities are asking lots of questions about it, he said. Clarifying the situation, Viersen said criminality is not being eliminated; it’s more that “at the federal level it’s just moving the threshold up.” So you won’t be busted for small amounts, but for larger amounts you will.

On rural crime, Viersen said a task force of 14 MPs toured the province getting feedback. Their report will be coming out at the end of April.

Finally, on the matter of pipeline capacity, Viersen slipped in a shot against the Prime Minister, saying instead of embarrassing himself and the country in India, he should have been in B.C. helping to solve the pipeline issue.

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