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

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.

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.