[Sust-mar] Action Alert from Standing Tall: Forests for Life Campaign

Joanne Cook jocook at hfx.eastlink.ca
Mon Jul 31 14:36:40 EDT 2006

Hullo Sust-Mar Subscribers:

Many of you already know that the Nova Scotia government's going to 
be developing a new Natural Resources strategy over the next year, 
made up of Forests, Mining, Parks, and Biodiversity sections. A 
keystone of the Ecology Action Centre's Standing Tall campaign has 
been the demand to open up public consultations around the Natural 
Resources strategy; we want the government to listen to all Nova 
Scotians with interests in the health of our forests. We've 
emphasized that the very best route would be to use Voluntary 
Planning, the independent Crown agency that carried out the ATV 
consultations in 2004.

Why are we so concerned about how the Nova Scotia Department of 
Natural Resources will manage this planning? Because, as many of you 
already know, DNR's track record on public consultation is terrible. 
You may have been involved in the game sanctuary delisting 
controversy. Or the IRM consultations. Or the development of the 
existing Forest Strategy in the mid-1990s. Or any one of the other 
issues on which the Department has asked for public opinion -- and 
then ignored it.

We need your help -- now!

During the election campaign, we asked Premier Rodney Macdonald, on 
behalf of the Conservative Party, "If elected, will your government 
commit to ensuring that these consultations are conducted by a third 
party and are truly inclusive of the Nova Scotia public, being 
conducted in communities across the Province and open to everyone who 
wishes to participate?"

Premier Macdonald responded:

Yes, a Progressive Conservative government will continue our 
commitment to ensuring that public consultations are conducted by a 
third-party and are inclusive of the Nova Scotia public, being 
conducted in communities across  the Province and open to everyone 
who wishes to participate.

Voluntary Planning is a citizens' policy forum that operates arm's 
length to the provincial government. Our mandate is to engage 
non-governmental  volunteers and citizens in policy discussions 
important to the future of Nova Scotia. Members participate on task 
forces, project teams and sector  committees representing many 
aspects of the economy and society. Policy advice and recommendations 
go forward through our Board of Directors to the Premier and 
Executive Council via the Minister of Treasury and Policy Board.

In carrying out their work, members and staff adhere to an approach 
and guiding principles that are based on Voluntary Planning's 
extensive public policy experience.

To this end, Voluntary Planning strives to include all Nova Scotians 
geographically, sectorally and socially; and to operate in the 
service of  government's policy needs but at arms' length from 
government. Finally, the process is transparent so that it is fair, 
and is perceived to be fair, in  representing the views of citizens. 
Further information on the Voluntary Planning mission and its 
principles can be found on 

We've written the Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources 
highlighting this commitment, and asked for a meeting with the 
Minister as soon as possible.

But we also need your help.

Please, call or email the Premier and the Minister ASAP, and tell 
them you want Voluntary Planning tasked right away with the Natural 
Resources Strategy consultations. They've promised. Let's hold them 
to it.

Premier Rodney Macdonald
Telephone: 902-424-6600
Toll-free Message Line: 1-800-267-1993
email: premier at gov.ns.ca

The Hon. David Morse
Minister of Natural Resources
Telephone: 902-424-4037
email: MIN_DNR at gov.ns.ca

If you send an email, do cc: it to your local MLA. If you don't know 
their email address, check the 
list of MLAs  and click on your member's name. Their email address, 
if available, will be on the next web page.

Thanks. And please -- feel free to forward this to your contacts, and 
encourage them to sign up to Forest Alert, at 

Best regards,
Joanne Cook and Minga O'Brien
Joanne Cook (mailto:jocook at hfx.eastlink.ca)
Coordinator, Standing Tall Campaign for Environmentally Responsible Forestry,
Ecology Action Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia;
http://www.novascotiaforests.ca & http://www.ecologyaction.ca
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