UPDATE May 30, 2018: Op-ed: “The session amounted to an industrial version of the dance of the seven veils deftly performed, not by the biblical Salome, but by the forestry industry proponents and apologists.” read more
UPDATE May 26, 2018: Joan Baxter comments on what wasn’t discussed – view Update
Also: The full text of the session is now available on Hansard
It had been anticipated that a meeting of the NS Legislature’s Resource Committee on Thurs 24 May 2018, (topic: Current State and Future of the Forestry Industry in Nova Scotia) would be be the first open-to-the-public discussion of the recommendations related to the Western Crown Lands coming from the Report of the Independent Review of Forestry Practices in Nova Scotia. The scheduled witnesses were WestFor Management Inc. – Marcus Zwicker, General Manager & Forest Nova Scotia – Jeff Bishop, Executive Director.
As it turned out, the report from the Independent Review has still not been submitted. (The scuttle is that it will now be submitted in early June.)
According to the one report on the meeting currently available, Zwicker and Bishop offered a defence of clearcutting in Nova Scotia.
View Forestry industry defends clear cutting in Nova Scotia
Canadian Press, published on Global News, May 24, 2018
UPDATE May 26, 2018
Joan Baxter, writing in the Halifax Examiner’s Morning File for May 25, 2018 under the apt heading Forest Fairy Tales provided, more light on the session, or at least more light on what wasn’t discussed.
Like the Forest Nova Scotia advertisements, Zwicker’s and Bishop’s testimony was noteworthy not just for the hyperbolic optimism, the obfuscation on a couple of tough questions from NDP MLAs, and the industry spin, but also for what was missing from the discussion, namely everything that is wrong with forests, forestry practices, and forest management in this province.
The MLAs would have been much better off skipping the PR sessions yesterday and instead immersing themselves in the meticulously researched “Dirty Dealing” articles by Linda Pannozzo here in the Halifax Examiner (see Dirty Dealing Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4), which irrefutably document that there are many very serious problems in our woodlands and the way they are being “managed” by some very powerful industry players.
Three elephants that dominate the forestry sector and policies in Nova Scotia didn’t even make it into the room at One Government Place, where their impact on forests could have been scrutinized.
There was not a single mention of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County and its decades-long history of promoting clear-cutting and herbicide spraying to turn the province’s rich and diverse Acadian forests into softwood pulp plantations.
Nor was there any mention of Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP), nor the Nova Scotia Power biomass burner in Port Hawkesbury that it feeds, which energy consultant Peter Ritchie has shown is less “green” than burning coal. Yes, that biomass burner, the one that, as Aaron Beswick reported in the Chronicle Herald, has been burning chips from hardwood trees from old growth forests cut by PHP on FSC-certified Crown land in eastern Nova Scotia. After denying the stands were old growth, DNR later admitted that it had made a mistake, and PHP had been cutting and burning wood from Old Growth forests after all.
The whole sordid story has been told by NS Forest Notes.
Thanks for being there and reporting on it, Joan Baxter/Halifax Examiner