Yellowhead candidates clash over pine beetle

Yellowhead candidates in the upcoming federal election agree on the severity of the mountain pine beetle infestation in Jasper National Park, but representatives from two of the major parties have varying opinions on why more hasn’t been done to this point.

Liberal Party candidate Ryan Maguhn took aim at the Conservative Party during a Sept. 28 all-candidates debate in Hinton, saying that a systemic attack on the freedom of researchers and continued funding cuts to Parks Canada have left JNP less able to deal with the pine beetle.

“We see those same scientists that remain working for Parks Canada threatened, suppressed. They just sent an open letter from multiple former members of the Parks service complaining about the treatment they have and the intellectual freedom because ultimately what we’ve seen is what this government wants to hear is more important to them than what they need to hear,” said Maguhn, adding that the Liberal Party is committed to restoring Parks’ funding and providing additional money for research.