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