Council of Canadians, Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John Chapters

Open letter to the Minister of Natural Resources




 


February 11, 2015

Minister Denis Landry

Chancery Place, 675 King Street

Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1E9

Dear Mr. Landry:

This is to express grave concerns about the lack of our government’s intervention on the forestry strategy introduced by the Alward government. With every passing day, more wood is being cut from our Crown Lands without the permission of its owners—the people of New Brunswick.   

Seven years ago, in February 2008, the results of a comprehensive public survey (1) on forest management practices commissioned by DNR provided empirical evidence that industry was already harvesting too much fibre off Crown Lands and had too much control over our forests.  As a cabinet minister at the time, you may recall that a tour organized to inform people about the results of this survey was cancelled by Donald Arsenault, then Minister of Natural Resources.

That survey represented how New Brunswickers wanted their forests managed. Those findings still apply, until proven otherwise, using a survey of the same scientific rigour. 

New Brunswickers expected, then, as they do now, that our forests would be managed for the following, and in the order prescribed: water protection, wildlife habitat, fire protection, protection against thefts, disease and insect protection, biodiversity, and as a source of fibre for industry. A key finding, too, was that the public wanted more and better opportunities to provide input on the management of their forests. Clearly, this public opinion survey demonstrated that the Alward government had no social license to negotiate the type of forestry agreements that are now in place.

The choice is clear. On the one hand, our government may opt to abide by the new forest management agreements.  On the other hand, however, our government can choose to accept the will of the majority of New Brunswickers.  And it’s not as if industry had no other source of fibre.  To paraphrase Morris Green, ex-Minister under the McKenna government, private woodlot owners have the wood to meet industry requirements.  According to this view, there would have been no need to increase the annual allowable cut from our forests because it was already available from private woodlot owners.  In sum, then, the issue is whether to allow industry or the owners of the forests to dictate how the people’s forests are to be managed.

Our own standpoint is that the forestry strategy must be halted.  We maintain that other forest governance models, like community forests, as suggested during the hearings organized by the Legislative Select Committee on Wood Supply in 1999, would be more beneficial in terms of long-term job creation and developing our local economies.  In fact, a recent study done by researchers at Simon Fraser University provides tangible evidence that “community forests perform better overall than other forms of tenures for selected indicators of local benefits” (i.e., diversification, local employment, and local value). Although some, like the four licensees might object to having their forest management agreements cancelled, we would argue that these agreements were made behind closed doors and without the involvement of the owners of this resource.

If the new Liberal government is to establish its credibility on this important issue, the forest strategy must be retracted immediately.

We look forward with great anticipation to hearing from you soon on this important file.

Links to New Brunswick Conservation Council productions 'Beau Bear' and 'Forbidden Forest'


*****
Lettre ouverte à le ministre des Ressources naturelles



Monsieur le ministre des Ressources naturelles,

Nous vous écrivons pour vous exprimer nos vives préoccupations face à l’absence d’intervention de notre gouvernement concernant la stratégie forestière introduite par l’administration Alward.  Chaque jour, plus de bois est coupé sur nos terres de la Couronne sans permission de son propriétaire, la population du Nouveau-Brunswick.

Il y a sept années, en février 2008, les résultats d’une enquête publique exhaustive (1) sur les pratiques de gestion forestière, commandée par le ministère des Ressources naturelles, ont fourni des données empiriques qui démontraient que les entreprises récoltaient déjà alors trop de fibres des terres de la Couronne et qu’elles exerçaient un trop grand contrôle sur nos forêts.  Comme membre du cabinet à l’époque, vous pouvez vous souvenir qu’une tournée organisée pour faire connaitre à la population les résultats de cette enquête avait été annulée par Donald Arsenault alors ministre des Ressources naturelles.

L’enquête démontrait comment les Néobrunswickois voulaient que les forêts soient gérées.  Ces résultats sont toujours valides jusqu’à des preuves du contraire proviennent d’une enquête scientifique aussi rigoureuse.

Les Néobrunswickois s’attendaient alors, comme maintenant, à ce que nos forêts soient gérées en tenant compte des facteurs suivants et dans cet ordre de priorité : la protection de l’eau, la protection des habitats de la faune, la protection contre les incendies, la protection contre le vol, la protection contre les maladies et les insectes, la biodiversité, et la forêt comme source de fibres pour les entreprises.  Une autre conclusion importante de l’enquête était que la population voulait avoir de plus nombreuse et de meilleures occasions de donner son opinion sur la gestion de ses forêts.  Clairement, cette enquête sur les opinions de la population a démontré que l’administration Alward ne possédait pas l’autorisation sociale de négocier le type d’entente forestière qui est présentement en vigueur.

Le choix est clair.  D’une part, notre administration provinciale peut choisir de respecter les nouvelles ententes de gestion forestière.  Par ailleurs, toutefois, notre administration peut choisir d’accepter la volonté de la majorité des Néobrunswickois.  Et ce n’est pas comme si l’industrie n’avait aucune autre source de fibres.  Pour paraphraser Morris Green, l’ancien ministre de l’administration McKenna, les propriétaires de lots boisés possèdent le bois pour satisfaire les besoins de l’industrie.  Selon cette autre option, il n’aurait pas été nécessaire d’accroitre la valeur des coupes annuelles permises des forêts de la Couronne parce les propriétaires privés de boisés auraient pu suffire à la demande.  Donc en somme, l’enjeu consiste à permettre soit aux industries ou soit aux propriétaires des forêts de dicter comment les forêts doivent être gérées.

Selon nous, c’est la stratégie forestière qui doit être abandonnée.  Tel que suggéré lors des audiences organisées par le Comité spécial de l’Assemblée législature sur l’approvisionnement en bois en 1999, nous soutenons que d’autres modèles de gouvernance comme les forêts communautaires seraient plus bénéfiques en termes de création d’emplois à long terme et de développement de nos économies locales.  En fait, une récente étude préparée par des chercheurs de l’université Simon Fraser fournit des preuves concrètes que « les forêts communautaires donnent un meilleur rendement dans l’ensemble que les autres formes de tenure lorsque l’on considère les indicateurs des bénéfices locaux (comme la diversification, l’emploi local, la valeur locale).  Bien que certains comme les quatre détenteurs de permis pourraient s’opposer à l’annulation de leurs ententes de gestion forestière, nous pourrions argumenter que ces ententes ont été conclues à huit clos et sans participation des propriétaires de la ressource.

Si la nouvelle administration Libérale veut établir sa crédibilité sur cet enjeu important, la stratégie forestière doit être désavouée immédiatement.

Nous attendons avec grand intérêt votre prompte réaction à cet important dossier et nous vous prions, monsieur le ministre, d’accepter l’expression de notre haute considération

Maggie Connell & Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, Co-Chairs

Council of Canadians Fredericton Chapter

Pamela Ross, Chair, Council of Canadians Moncton Chapter

Leticia Adair, Chair, Council of Canadians Saint John Chapter

cc: Premier Brian Gallant
     Media

Liens au Nouveau-Brunswick Conservation Council productions 'Beau Bear' et 'Forbidden Forest'

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Action Alerts

Have your say on Draft Water Strategy!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017
by Conservation Council of New Brunswick
A Water Strategy for New Brunswick

On October 6, 2017, the department of Environment and Local Government released a draft water strategy for comments. The draft strategy is available on the government website. Comments can be submitted by email to: waterstrategy-strategiedeleau@gnb.ca or by mail to: Department of Environment and Local Government, Policy and Planning Division, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1. Comments will be accepted until November 20, 2017.

In order to help groups with their submissions, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, in cooperation with watershed groups, has put together key elements of a watershed strategy and a sample letter to send to the Department.

Summary​ ​of​ ​8​ ​Key​ ​Elements​ ​of​ ​a​ ​Strong​ ​Water​ ​Protection​ ​Strategy

New​ ​Brunswick​ ​deserves​ ​a​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy​ ​that:
    1. is​​ ​​science-based;​ ​(involving​ ​baseline​ ​data,​ ​tracking​ ​and​ ​taking​ ​into​ ​consideration cumulative​ ​impacts,​ ​environmental​ ​flows)
    2. sets​ ​water​ ​quality​ ​standards​ ​within​ ​a​ ​working,​ ​legal​ ​mechanism;
    3. conserves​ ​all​ ​water​ ​within​ ​​watersheds​ ​including​ ​surface​ ​waters​ ​(lakes,​ ​streams,​ ​rivers) and​ ​groundwater,​ ​by​ ​developing​ ​good​ ​conservation​ ​plans,​ ​policies​ ​and​ ​practices,​ ​and uses​ ​the​ ​precautionary​ ​principle​ ​as​ ​a​ ​guiding,​ ​legally​ ​enforceable​ ​tool;
    4. protects​ ​our​ ​marine​ ​coastal​ ​areas​ ​in​ ​law;
    5. has​ ​a​ ​meaningful​ ​form​ ​of​ ​​co-governance​ ​with​ ​First​ ​Nations;
    6. includes​ ​the​ ​development,​ ​implementation​ ​and​ ​enforcement​ ​of​ ​watershed​ ​protection plans,​ ​developed​ ​in​ ​a​ ​transparent​ ​manner,​ ​involving​ ​government,​ ​businesses,​ ​watershed organizations,​ ​farmers,​ ​municipal​ ​officials,​ ​and​ ​citizens;
    7. is​ ​accountable,​ ​which​ ​includes​ ​ongoing​ ​monitoring​ ​and​ ​annual​ ​reporting​ ​to​ ​the​ ​public​ ​on the​ ​progress​ ​of​ ​goals​ ​and​ ​objectives​ ​outlined​ ​in​ ​the​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy;​ ​and,
    8. is​​ ​enforceable​ ​through​ ​a​ ​modern​ ​legal​ ​framework
Sample Letter
 My name is ______, and I am writing to express my support for a strong Water Strategy in New Brunswick.

I live near ______ OR I live in ___________ watershed

Describe your favourite spot to fish/swim/paddle etc.

Share your favourite water memory.

Clean, healthy water is important to me because _____________.

Have you recently experienced a boil water order? Blue-green algae? Extreme weather? Describe what is of concern to you.

I applaud the provincial government for moving forward on its commitment to protecting our water; however I believe the draft strategy does not go far enough to ensure healthy water for my watershed.

We need a water protection strategy that (Insert one or multiple key elements).

I am afraid that if left unattended, my watershed will face ongoing and increasing treats from (pollution, wetland and coastal estuary loss, loss of adequate environmental flow to sustain aquatic life, and increasing climate change impacts such as floods, droughts, and high temperatures.)

Please protect my watershed by implementing a strong water protection strategy with modern legislation that (note key element(s)) to ensure the health of our water and people.

Thank you,
Your name.

For more information, visit the CCNB's website.

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.