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 with Rob Miskosky


Over the past while, I've heard some disparaging remarks directed at the Alberta Game Policy Advisory Council, better known as AGPAC, about the effectiveness of the council.
To set things straight, the AGPAC consists of many member groups including, but not limited to:

● Alberta Beef Producers
● Alberta Bowhunters Association
● Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society
● Alberta Conservation Association
● Alberta Environment and Parks
● Alberta Fish and Game Association
● Alberta Hunter Education Instructors
● Alberta Professional Outfitters Society
● Alberta Tree Hound Association
● Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
● Delta Waterfowl
● Fish and Wildlife Enforcement
● Rural Municipalities of Alberta
● Safari Club International
● University of Alberta
● Upland Birds Alberta
● Wild Sheep Foundation Alberta

The purpose of the AGPAC is “To engage game-resource stakeholders in a collaborative process to advise and inform development of game management policies and legislation in Alberta, through:
l Knowledge transfer on key game management issues
l Eliciting perspectives and proposed solutions on identified topics
l Facilitating development of a shared vision for game management

Each of the aforementioned groups has a say in the discussions that take place during AGPAC meetings, and each of these groups can bring forward recommendations from their respective memberships to be discussed as well, if so desired. Those membership recommendations and any other items that need to be tabled guide forthcoming AGPAC meetings. All items are related to game management in Alberta.

As well, non-members of AGPAC, which include, among others, hunters, landowners, conservationists etc., can also address concerns directly to Alberta Environment and Parks and if required, will be discussed at the AGPAC level.

It should be noted that the role of the AGPAC is not to make regulatory or policy changes to game management in Alberta; rather, “Although consensus will be sought, this council is not a decision-making body. Final authority for policy and legislative decisions rests with the Minister or their representative.”

A couple of remarks I have heard regarding the AGPAC is that everything discussed is kept secret, and that APOS runs the meetings and always get what they want. As a member of the AGPAC, I can assure you that neither of those remarks is even vaguely close to the truth. Have AGPAC members been asked to not share certain information? Yes, but only in the context that the information was incomplete and not ready for public dissection. Once finalized, all information is shared immediately with group memberships at the discretion of each group.

Does APOS run the AGPAC? No, of course not. Each of the AGPAC member groups have diverse memberships devoted to different outcomes related to game management. Because of this, not all groups hold hands and sing Kumbaya together. In fact, quite the opposite. The Beef Producers certainly have different needs than Delta Waterfowl, just as AFGA has different needs than APOS, so this one is just silly. However, what I will say is that disagreements are not heated and that each of the group representatives act in an extremely professional manner while at the same time, holding strong to their membership’s needs. There is mutual respect among each of the stakeholder groups and when a vote is required, the consensus stands.

According to Matt Besko, Director of Wildlife Policy, “AGPAC is essential as a broad-based advisory council which identifies, consolidates, and advocates for significant policies affecting the sustainable management and allocation of game species provincially. Not all parties will agree on all issues, but meaningful debate, understanding, and discussion results in better, more informed advice and input into the conservation and allocation of our valuable wildlife resources.”

Those that sit on the AGPAC are not only volunteers giving much of their time and effort as advocates of their member groups, but more importantly, as a community of stakeholders who contribute to the betterment of game policy and wildlife management in Alberta. At their own expense, some AGPAC members travel great distances to attend the meetings held in Stony Plain. I would offer that members of the Alberta Game Policy Advisory Council should be acknowledged, rather than castigated for the work they do.

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