Don Bowser, an international expert on transparency and anti-corruption, was recently interviewed by Charles Thériault. Bowser, who is originally from New Brunswick, has worked on corruption, particularly in natural resource extraction, in countries such as Russia, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone. He is surprised by the lack of transparency and public consultation taking place in New Brunswick in regards to extractive industries and notes that in New Brunswick it is particularly troubling. He offers an analysis of our province, calling it a “captured province” in which the regulators have “Stockholm syndrome” and identify with their hostage takers.
People are expressing concerns about whether Crown land is being managed for the public good. Charles Thériault recently produced a video of a public meeting in the Miramichi which sheds light on the feelings in that community. On January 30, 2014, the Premier announced that the province would be increasing the amount of wood available to industry. It is anticipated that this will result in clearcutting in areas that currently have restrictions on the type of cutting in order to allow for other purposes such as water protection and wildlife habitat. Scientists have come out in opposition to this. As well, there is a lot of discussion about herbicide spraying, triggered by Rod Cumberland, a retired provincial deer biologist. Herbicide spraying and clear cutting are linked activities as, after a clear cut, softwoods are planted and herbicides are sprayed to prevent hardwoods from growing back.
There is an online petition that you can sign. An herbicide fact sheet has been published encouraging people to write letters. There are two great new web tools that quickly download satellite images and analysis about what is happening in the forest anywhere in the globe, including the forest near you!
The World's 15 Biggest Landowners, Business Insider, March 18, 2011: http://www.businessinsider.com/worlds-biggest-landowners-2011-3?op=1
Interview with Don Bowser, March 2, 2014: http://isourforestreallyours.com/Isourforestreallyours/Ep_21.html
Crown forest access will impact flora, fauna, experts warn, CBC, February 19, 2014: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/crown-forest-access-will-impact-flora-fauna-experts-warn-1.2543625
Video of the public meeting in the Miramichi, November 27, 2013: http://vimeo.com/81147160#
Herbicide use in NB: Everything you need to know to write an effective letter to eliminate herbicide spraying of our forest: http://www.conservationcouncil.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Herbicide-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Online forest satellite tools: http://www.nben.ca/en/collaborative-action/caucuses/crown-lands-network/crown-lands-network