Nova Scotia election: only the Greens are unequivocal about clearcutting

Aerial imagery of “sustainable harvests” on crown land after 10+ years. To date, Conservative, Liberal and NDP governments have all had a hand in maintaining excessive clearcutting on the Nova Scotia landscape.

Candidates representing the environmental platforms for the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and the Greens made short presentations and participated in Q&A in an Environmental Issues Election Debate yesterday. The event, held at Kings College in Halifax, was sponsored by the Ecology Action Centre and the Sierra Club, Atlantic chapter.

Question: Will you implement the commitments in the Natural Resources Strategy including the reduction of clearcutting to no more than 50% of all clearcutting and the reform of forestry practices?

Liberals: The Natural Resources Strategy had no consensus in it, “so we are committed to hiring an independent person come in, they will review all forestry practices including this report, and until this review is complete and Nova Scotians are satisfied with the conclusions there will no long term leases on Crown land.” He said that industry and environmental groups should be confident in this “transparent and unbiased review.”

NDP: We commit to moving forward including a recommitment to 50% reduction in clearcutting.

Green: Why would we tolerate it at all? The Green party questions glyphosate spraying.

Conservative: The Conservative Party is committed to a review on what is an acceptable level of cutting on crown Land.

Recent, mid-election polling suggests the “Liberals continue to hold a significant lead over their PC and NDP rivals and are on track to be the first government to secure a second consecutive majority in the province in nearly 30 years…But it wouldn’t take a significant shift to put the Liberals’ chances of winning another majority into doubt. Just a swing of a few points from the Liberals to the Tories could tip McNeil’s party back toward a minority government.” (CBC News May 16, 2017).

In the meantime, I am attempting to get more information from the Liberals on the nature of their promised review, but it’s likely that won’t be forthcoming until the election is over (and if the Liberals form a majority or minority government). I would have more confidence in the NDP’s current position if they would admit that the Dexter government reneged on their initial commitment to reduce clearcutting. I hope there is a Green presence in the legislature after this election. The Conservative rep spoke about EGSPA (Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act), which was brought in by the last Conservative government and received all-party support, and the need to review, update and recommit to it. ‘Agreed.

See also: Liberals, PCs cautious on environmental commitments (CBC May 16, 2017).

The only leaders’ debate occurs tomorrow evening (Thursday May 18, 2017). View CBC Election Debate

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