Andrew Clark’s story parallels that of so many I know – honest and hardworking with an abiding love for the forest. A commitment to the future through sustainability and responsible stewardship. Moreover, care for the province and the value of our forest resource.
Unfortunately, previous governments have turned a blind eye to the unfairness that is now entrenched in the market, and to their own obligations under the law. This failure to act has led to the extraordinary penalties the Americans are imposing today.
As part of meaningful reform, the government needs to re-empower the marketing boards that have done so much over the years to foster a healthy and profitable market for wood.
The people charged with managing our forests are the very same people – the forest industry – who are making money off cutting it. Changing this is fundamental to designing a forestry policy that works for all.
We, as the representatives of private woodlot owners, are part of a consortium that also includes environmental, conservation, fish and wildlife organizations, forestry biologists, and scientists.
All recognise what we, forestry experts, economists, and the Auditor General have been saying – that we are missing out on what should be one of our most important sources of revenue; our Crown land.
A diverse forest will foster a truly competitive forest industry, and we have enough forests to meet all of these interests.
Every party in the upcoming election acknowledges that changes are needed to the way we do forestry in this province.
Do citizens need to hurt for NB companies to survive? Of course not. So why is this the case for forestry?
The Auditor General has raised this point, and a review by the CIBC World Bank suggests that because of government mismanaging our Crown lands we are losing out on a whopping $100 Million every year.
In 2017 A new act was proposed that reduces timber taken from Crown land, improves sustainability, enhances non-timber uses such as hunting, fishing and hiking, and provides private woodlot owners with an opportunity to provide a fair proportion of wood for market. We need a government that will champion this proposal.
Asked what happened, he says it was a series of bad decisions by successive governments, to the point now where government says it doesn’t have a say, and private woodlot owners are being pushed aside.
The good news is that it is spreading like wildfire. New Brunswickers, both in the rural areas and in our cities, are sharing it with their friends and neighbours on Facebook and elsewhere, speaks for itself.
We know that if enough citizens understand what is going on here, that we are competing with our own government controlled Crown wood, that your sense of fairness may prompt you to help by speaking out.