In question period today in the Nova Scotia Legislature, Sterling Belliveau, MLA for Queens-Shelburne and NDP House leader noted that the goal of a 50% reduction in clearcuts was supposed to have been achieved by 2016 and that NSDNR Minister Lloyd Hines had said that “the goal is unchanged”.
So he asked NSDNR Minister Hines “what new timelines has his department has set out to reach the target of a 50% reduction?” Hines replied by stating that anyone looking objectively the Department of Natural Resources will see it is a science based, objective department and went on to describe the various entities within it and said he was proud of all of them.
Belliveau then said that “last year we were told the province was on track to reach 50%…” however through a Freedom of Information (FOIPOP) request, Belliveau had obtained figures for 2013 and 2014. In 2013, 64% of harvests on crown land were clearcuts while in 2014 the figure was 71%. “How will the province ever meet this 50% target if clearcutting on crown land is actually increasing?”, he asked. Hines (I am paraphrasing): there are individual variations on the road to success, but our objectives remain unchanged, so stay tuned.
The figures speak for themselves. So does the fact that an MLA had to go through a Freedom of Information (FOIPOP) request to get statistics that should be readily available to everyone.
Given the definition of clearcutting established under the previous, NDP government and retained by the current Liberal government, it’s likely that the proportion of land that was cut under a regime other than multi-aged management was even more than those figures suggest*. Time for some straight talk folks.