By Adrian Humphreys
Like driftwood logs, two enormous antlers stretch from their sharp tips down four feet to the head of an enormous elk, lying dead on the flat Prairie soil.
These are the “trophy” — an enormous souvenir of the kill that brought corporate executives and celebrities to Rick Alsager’s 1,600-hectare Saskatchewan farm on the Yellowhead Highway, midway between Saskatoon and Edmonton.
Bagging the best of these trophies, some of the biggest in the world, ran into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Then, on April 16, 2010, one of the elk tested positive for chronic wasting disease and the operation was quarantined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. An order to kill the herd soon followed.
The fallout of that cull has not yet settled.
What ostensibly is a battle over compensation has become a culture clash — a head-butting akin to rutting elk — pitting civil servants against a prickly farmer; bureaucrats against a man fed up with government; city-living regulators and tax-funded lawyers against someone who has lived on a farm all his life and represents himself to save the cash.
It is, Mr. Alsager believes, a battle to save the real Canada.
“I don’t understand these people,” he said from the property near Maidstone, Sask., on Thursday.
“Government has got so huge in this country, the bureaucracy runs itself. The rules come down from people who are so removed from hunting and farming, from the land and guns. More....