June 22nd, 2024

Conservatives have destroyed fish and wildlife management

By Lethbridge Herald on February 23, 2023.


In the 1970s and early ‘80s, Peter Lougheed created Alberta’s first government departments for protection of the environment. As part of this, he hired a handful of Fish and Wildlife habitat protection biologists and positioned them around Alberta to ensure industrial developments were done in ways that protected wildlife habitat. That was Alberta’s ‘CONSERVE-ative era’ of wildlife management. 

In the late 1980s and ‘90s, the Getty and Klein governments continued to establish approval and referral processes and maintained an effective Fish and Wildlife Division to serve Albertans. This was Alberta’s ‘con-SERVE-ative era’ of wildlife management. 

From the mid 1990s to 2010, there was an erosion of the Fish and Wildlife Division. Habitat protection biologists were eliminated. Industrial referral systems were dismantled. Habitat development was privatized. 

Up until that time, the Fish and Wildlife Division had paid for itself with hunting and fishing license revenues being similar to annual expenditures. It was a government department funding itself! 

But since 1997, what you pay for hunting and fishing licenses has been shunted over to a non-government corporation. The conservatives were coming under attack from right and left. Nothing survived unless it was for the party.

This was demonstrated in 2010 when the premier and his minister killed the work on Alberta’s Species at Risk Stewardship Act. Had they read it, they would have understood the legislation would have brought species at risk back into provincial jurisdiction. But paranoia ruled during this “conservative – party era” of wildlife management. 

Now they’re disassembling the last remnants of the Fish and Wildlife Division like a vulture picking at the final scraps of an old carcass. Fish and wildlife enforcement officers have sent down the road to the highway sheriffs, fish have been farmed to agriculture and wildlife skidded to a forestry minister who owns a hunting outfitting company – surely a case of the fox guarding the hen house! Only the tiny species at risk group stays with Environment, but with no legislation to support them. 

Is it fish and wildlife management? No – it’s all a big con-job. And you guessed it, we’re now well into Alberta’s ‘CON-servative era’ of wildlife management. 

Richard Quinlan

Wildlife Biologist (retired)


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thank you for further insight into a serious matter, that was recently addressed by Lorne Fitch in this paper. what should not escape anyone is the likes of what should be an egregious conflict of interest matter regarding the forestry min. it would be laughable if this were not a serious matter.
i am wondering: when we have people in power that are so obviously about themselves, what can be said of people that are supporting them?

old school

There was definitely room for improvement in Fish and Wildlife. Living near a lake and spending time by irrigation canals and seeing the antics of some of the “fish cops” I question their self imposed power. The canals and lakes were made for irrigation purpose and Fish and Wildlife tries a fish first attitude, preventing or restricting what they were made for. This is a reflection of what that department does and the mentality behind “them”. When I read that the department Is changed I was not disappointed.


what were they made for? jet skis, power boats, water skiing, dumping your crap?

John P Nightingale

Well stated.
Let us not forget Smith’s latest initiative, essentially rewarding Big Oil for cleaning up their own mess (“Orphan” wells) This was one of her basic mantras prior to becoming premier when she lobbied for – guess who? Essentially she is lining the oil barons pockets with Albertans cash , whilst the environment is short changed.
She obviously is oblivious to the fact that “user pays” , or SHOULD pay.
Now it appears that federal money forwarded to our province to help clean up this mess, was indeed passed on to the oil companies by the province, but nothing was used to assist or even begin the clean up process. (Article Globe and Mail Friday)

And now we have Sonja Savage running Environment . Remember her? Quietly rolling back the 1976 coal moratorium before reversing course (“temporarily) following public outrage.

Our most precious resource , arguably the very air we breathe and our natural surroundings, is under threat like never before.


bullseye, jpn. the approach is as dirty as is the mess we have been left with. and, we are left with such a mess because govts calling themselves cons have allowed oil cos to create and leave a mess. those cos have been allowed to steal away unprecedented wealth from us, and have been permitted to leave us to billions more in damages. for too many, it is all good, so long as the culprits say they are cons.

Fedup Conservative

When I was involved in it for 8 years the oil corporations had to pay for the clean up. Klein changed that to protect his rich friends and look at the mess he created. The guy that I was involved with, who was doing it, was forced into bankruptcy thanks to Klein.


An astute depiction of the decline of wildlife and environmental habitat protection under the Cons in Alberta. Thank you Richard.
Our UCP government is not a government for the citizens of Alberta, instead a corrupt mob Hell-bent on serving their own financial interests and those corporate and self-serving thugs who back their election campaigns so that they too profit from their manipulations… profit from the ongoing destruction of our province. These are very sad days for any Albertan who cares for Alberta… for those of us not wrapped up purely in greed and self-serving attitudes. The era of CONservatives.

Fedup Conservative

The problem is they aren’t Conservatives, they are Reformers. You would never have seen Peter Lougheed doing this to the people. Now Danielle Smith is bribing ignorant Albertans with a $600. just like her pal Ralph Klein did, yet as the intelligent Albertans point out. After Jason Kenney took the caps off our power, natural gas, and car insurance that Notley put in place to protect us from the gouging the $600. doesn’t even cover what the gouging has cost us. While Alaskans have received $4,200. over a three year period Albertans are expected to be satisfied with $600. Why? When our oil production is huge compared to theirs.