[Sust-mar] Billboard slams NDP for inaction on clearcutting

Christopher Majka c.majka at ns.sympatico.ca
Sun Oct 7 08:50:05 EDT 2012

Billboard slams NDP for inaction on clearcutting

A new billboard in downtown Halifax is reminding voters that the NDP  
are dragging their feet on reforming forestry practices.

"It's all talk and no action, and people are getting more and more  
frustrated," says forester Jamie Simpson, of the NDP government's  
failure to reduce clearcutting of Nova Scotia's forests.

Simpson put out a public appeal to raise money for the billboard over  
the summer. "I was astounded. Within 5 days people had donated over  
$2,300 to the cause -- twenty dollars here, a hundred there -- all of  
them saying they were frustrated and disappointed with the NDP's  
failure to keep their promises for better forestry."

Simpson created a website -- www.clearcutNS.com -- to help draw  
awareness to the NDP's failure. The billboard photograph shows one of  
Northern Pulp Corporation's whole-tree clearcuts. Northern Pulp is  
owned by Paper Excellence Canada, a conglomerate of Asian and European  

While in opposition, the NDP introduced bills six times to clamp down  
on clearcutting. In December 2010, they promised to reduce  
clearcutting to 50 percent of all harvesting by 2015, a commitment  
affirmed in the new Natural Resources Strategy. Natural Resources  
Minister Charlie Parker has also promised to ban whole-tree  
harvesting, an especially destructive cutting practice criticized for  
turning logging sites into mud-ridden moonscapes.

Two and half years later, whole-tree harvesting and clearcutting  
continue unabated.

"The only thing the NDP has done," says Simpson, "is to change the  
definition of a clearcut to make it far easier to reach their 50  
percent goal. In fact, they may have already met their goal just by  
changing the definition."

Under the NDP's new definition, clearcuts that contain chest-high  
saplings, a few scattered mature trees (whether or not they blow  
down), or sufficient seedlings of certain species over 30 centimeters  
high are not counted as clearcuts.

"Nothing's changed on the ground. That's just downright shameful.  
Minister Parker ought to be ashamed of his Department for stooping so  
low. The NDP promised to stop whole-tree harvesting and to reduce  
clearcutting. They passed these promises through Cabinet, posted them  
on the government's website, and announced them to the public. We just  
want them to keep their promises. The lack of follow-through is  
embarrassing," says Simpson.

He attributes the lack of progress on tackling clearcutting to a  
change-resistant culture within the Department of Natural Resources  
coupled with lacklustre leadership from Minister Charlie Parker and  
the Premier.

Simpson is now appealing to the public for money to purchase another  
month of billboard time to continue to pressure the NDP (www.indiegogo.com/AcadianForest) 

For more information, contact Jamie Simpson at (902) 817-1737, or bocabec at gmail.com 
. Jamie Simpson is a professional forester, woodlot owner, author of  
Restoring the Acadian Forest, and currently studies law at Dalhousie  

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