New Brunswickers Get It. They See the Unfairness and They Don’t Like It.

Last month we posted a blog explaining what woodlot owners in this province are up against. It’s nothing new. In fact it is a situation that has been going on since the 90’s, and made worse by successive policy changes by successive governments.

But we got to the end of our rope in trying to deal with the powers that be, be they the large forestry companies or the government. So we decided that, if we go public and make more New Brunswickers aware of how woodlot owners throughout rural New Brunswick are being treated, that the unfairness might outrage enough people that they will confront their elected officials about it, and that this may result in positive changes. That is our hope anyway.

Assuming we weren’t going to get a fair shake with the Irving-owned newspapers, we decided to use social media. And, as I say, our first blog was published last month.

The support so far has truly been heartening.

The good news is that it is spreading like wildfire. As of this writing, our blog was seen by more than 19,000 New Brunswickers, in both languages, and shared nearly 200 times! The fact that our blog is continuing to make the rounds because 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.

And then there are the comments that people are leaving. Here’s just a sample:

“I agree (woodlot owners) are some of the worst treated. Deplorable policies to monopolize the industry”
“companies want everything for nothing, but are selling lumber at record prices”
“In many cases, wood prices (what woodlot owners are paid) are less than in the 90’s”
“I have complained to the MLAs in the past, and will continue to do so.”
“the mills should have to buy from owners before a stick of Crown can be cut. As it is they are cutting Crown and won’t even buy ours.”

And on and on the comments went. What this tells us is that New Brunswickers get it. They see the unfairness and they don’t like it.

But unfortunately, when you get into the details, it gets even worse. Because that’s where the hurt is.

How current policies and practices hurt people in New Brunswick

"The support so far has truly been heartening." - Rick Doucett

"The support so far has truly been heartening." - Rick Doucett

The sad truth is that once we go beyond the broad strokes of a series of government policies, each one giving more and more power to the forestry companies at the expense of woodlot owners, that is when you see the effect these policies, and the industry’s willingness to exploit them, are having. On the receiving end - the thousands of woodlot owners who are continuing to struggle to make a living despite this unlevel playing field, and those who tried but have given up.

As we continue, we will be telling some of these stories, as well as explaining more about the economics of forestry practices in our province, and the devastating effects on rural New Brunswick. Our hope is that you will continue to read them and share them. And to be part of the army of New Brunswickers we are trying to build; people who see something that isn’t right, and want to be part of the effort to change it.

Thank you for listening,

Rick Doucett
President, New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners

P.S. If you missed the first post I am referring to, you can read it here.