Protecting natural resources is a national effort
The men and women who protect Canada’s natural resources, including Prince Edward Island conservation officers, gathered recently in Stanley Bridge.
The theme of the conference was officer safety and training officers to meet both old and new challenges.
While visiting the province, the Canadian Natural Resources Law Enforcement Chiefs got a close-up look at some of the fragile natural areas they are tasked with protecting. They toured the North Shore of PEI from Stanley Bridge to East Point, including the unique ecosystem at Greenwich National Park.
“Today we were lucky enough to go on a tour of Greenwich and tour the floating boardwalk,” Ken Aube, the Chief of Enforcement and Investigations for Saskatchewan’s Minister of Environment said. “We have sand dunes in Saskatchewan but they’re in the north and south and I haven’t had the opportunity to see them, so to see them here and learn how they move, it was incredible.”
Aube also said that this is a useful organization to be part of, especially for finding solutions, networking, and figuring out what legislation works and what doesn’t.
Natural resources law enforcement is responding to the changes in our society.
Wildlife crime, such as illegal hunting, poaching and trafficking of at-risk species, is a concern. However, on top of that, front-line officers now often encounter drugs issues and grow operations while patrolling forests and coast lines throughout Canada.
“Conservation Officers deal with armed people all the time, so we need to ensure all our officers are fully trained in safety and de-escalation techniques to protect themselves and the public,” said Prince Edward Island Conservation Officer Wade MacKinnon. “Ensuring we have well-trained officers and building good relationships with community members means we can successfully enforce legislation and protect natural resources, fish and wildlife habitats and more.”
MacKinnon said the five-day conference also included discussion on the constitutional and treaty harvest rights of indigenous communities and ways to improve relationships with the enforcement community.
MacKinnon called the conference “a great success with excellent speakers from across our country.” “This was the first time many of the conference delegates have visited Prince Edward Island and many plan to return.”