Archive | Forestry

NEWS RELEASE: Canada Supports Indigenous-led Economic Development for First Nation Communities in Northern Quebec (September 14, 2020)

CNW GROUP – ABITIBI-TÉMISCAMINGUE, QC, Sept. 14, 2020 /CNW/ – Canada’s forest sector continues to be an important source of employment across the country, including in rural, remote and Indigenous communities. That is why the Government of Canada is investing in projects to equip Indigenous communities with tools to build greener businesses and promote further economic opportunity in the forest sector.

Parliamentary Secretary Paul Lefebvre, on behalf of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced $620,738 in funding allocated to two projects in northern Quebec:

A $100,000 investment to the Kebaowek First Nation for a training program that provides one-on-one guidance across a whole range of timber harvesting skills. This program will increase economic development and grow forestry businesses, creating additional full-time employment opportunities within the community. Continue Reading →

Infamous ‘War in the Woods’ in 1990s offers lesson for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline debate – by Cody Battershill (Financial Post – January 28, 2020)

“We hear of growing frustration among Canada’s Indigenous communities, who are tired of managing systemic poverty. They’re ready to turn to managing wealth, and to obtaining a safe, secure and sustainable future for their community members, particularly their youth….As Canada continues on a path toward reconciliation with its Indigenous communities, it makes sense that economic reconciliation, including genuine participation in resource projects, be a key part of the discussion.”

If you talk to participants of B.C.’s infamous “War in the Woods” forestry land-use debates of the 1990s, you quickly learn that virtually no one enjoyed the experience, no matter which side they supported. All these years later, each side can claim a handful of victories and plenty of defeats.

According to many of the participants I’ve spoken with over the years, a few First Nations leaders found the anti-forestry campaigns especially hurtful as their communities were pulled in — and then fractured — in large part by external campaign forces.

Back then it was the Forest Action Network (FAN) and a number of other early enviro-combatants that led the anti-resources charge over B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest. FAN became adept at finding divisions within First Nations communities, identifying roles for dissatisfied hereditary leaders and then elevating them before international media, often to the detriment of elected councillors and the Indigenous community at large. Continue Reading →

Why We (Still) Can’t Live Without Rubber – by Charles C. Mann (National Geographic – December 2015)

As global car sales soar, the demand for tires is transforming Southeast Asia’s landscape. New plantations of rubber trees are lifting some out of poverty—but may also spark an ecological disaster.

SOMETIMES YOU JUST want to spend a few hours washing your truck. It’s a beautiful day, all of northern Thailand vibrant in the spring sun, so you drive your new Isuzu into the stream that runs through your village, Tung Nha Noi. Cows and people walk by as you stand in the water, a 21-year-old guy with a hot ride, sponging it so clean that the vehicle gleams like hope in the sun.

Not so long ago the chances that someone like Piyawot Anurakbranpot—“Chin” to his friends—would have a fancy truck at such a young age would have been close to zero. People in remote villages like Tung Nha Noi didn’t have the money. But recently families like Chin’s have become much more prosperous. The reason is visible in the hills behind him.

Ten years ago they were covered with dense tropical forest—a profuse tangle of native vegetation. Now most of the slopes have been shaved as clean as a drill instructor’s chin and replanted with a single species: Hevea brasiliensis, the Pará rubber tree. Night after night, Chin’s family and tens of thousands of others in Southeast Asia go into plantations and tap their rubber trees, maple-syrup style. Continue Reading →

Forest spraying violates treaty: Huron-Robinson elders – by Helen Morley (Sudbury Star – September 5, 2019)

First Nations in northeastern Ontario to take federal government to court

Some 21 First Nations along the North Shore of Lake Huron are preparing to take the federal government to court over aerial spraying they say is harming the environment and human health.

However, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Elders of Robinson-Huron Treaty territory say the spraying is only part of a larger issue: that First Nations are not being consulted about activities taking place on their land. The elders say this violates the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850.

Ray Owl, the spokesperson for the TEK Elders of Robinson-Huron Treaty territory, says the 21 First Nations will take the federal government to court for violating the Robinson-Huron Treaty. That court date will take place by October. Continue Reading →

[Sault Ste. Marie] Building a knowledge-based economy:Algoma University positions itself as a catalyst for community innovation – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 13, 2019)

Pedro Antunes gets excited thinking about the possibilities to create a more knowledge-based economy in Sault Ste. Marie. The associate biology professor at Algoma University marvels at the environmental research and science capacity both on the Queen Street campus and at two nearby government forestry labs.

“In a relatively small community, we have a huge number of people with post-secondary degrees in all areas of science and forestry,” he said. “From there it can stem into many so many areas.”

With an undergraduate population of about 1,000 students, Algoma University is still relatively young as an independent post-secondary institute, 10 years removed from its affiliation with Laurentian University in Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Large expanse of boreal forest straddling Ontario and Manitoba gets World Heritage recommendation – by Gloria Galloway (Globe and Mail – May 16, 2018)

A massive tract of boreal forest straddling the Ontario and Manitoba borders that has been home to the Anishinaabe people for 6,000 years has received the two key recommendations it needs to become Canada’s first mixed cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Pimachiowin Aki, which means the Land That Gives Life in Anishinaabemowin, covers 29,040 square kilometres (almost the size of Vancouver Island) of mostly untouched wilderness and is home to one of the largest herds of caribou south of Hudson Bay as well as many other species of mammals, birds, insects and fish.

A World Heritage mixed designation is a declaration that an area is so important to the world, both culturally and ecologically, that it must be protected. There is another such site in Mexico but none in Canada or the continental United States. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Ontario Alliance of First Nations and Non-First Nations asks Feds to Hit the Pause Button on Species at Risk Policy (May 9, 2018)

May 9th, 2018 – An Alliance of First Nation and non-First Nation leaders in Ontario are concerned about the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of species at risk (SAR) policy being developed by the Federal Government and the current direction being proposed for managing and conserving caribou.

Al Spacek, President of FONOM and Mayor of Kapuskasing commented, “The Ontario Government has taken these concerns very seriously and have committed to achieving a better understanding of the impacts of climate change on species at risk, the cumulative impacts of all species at risk on a broad, dynamic landscape, and a much better appreciation of the socio-economic impacts on our communities.

However, delivering on this commitment will take time and we remain very concerned that the window of opportunity being provided by the Ontario Government is now being placed in jeopardy by our Federal Government.” Continue Reading →

Forestry exemption extended under ESA – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 4, 2018)

TIMMINS – An exemption under the Endangered Species Act that allowing forestry to maintain current operations has been extended by the province for another two years.

Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Nathalie Des Rosiers, who was in Timmins briefly this week, said she is encouraged by that. She said the effort will now be made to achieving a balance — protecting the habitat of woodland caribou while continuing to provide wood fibre to the forest industry.

Des Rosier did not offer any specific solution to that, but said a newly-formed roundtable is charged with finding several solutions.  “Yesterday (Tuesday), I had a really good roundtable in Hearst with different partners in the forestry industry,” Des Rosiers said in a brief interview with The Daily Press this week. Continue Reading →

MEDIA RELEASE: Alliance Between First Nations, Municipal Leaders, and Industry Formed to Defend a Way of Life

Welcomes Nathalie Des Rosiers as Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

January 18, 2018 – An Alliance of First Nation and non-First Nation leaders representing rights holders,  stakeholders, municipal leaders, unions, and Ontario’s forest sector has been formed to defend our way of life, with a mandate to grow the responsible use of natural resources in northern and rural Ontario.

Chief Thomas Johnson Jr., Seine River First Nation, said, “In light of reconciliation and economic sustainability, we as First Nations and non-First Nations must rally in support of one another to defend our shared forestry interests and lands unique to northern and rural Ontario through a working alliance, forged on the principles of unity, strength and prosperity.

Our collective action reaches beyond today by working to secure a sustainable future for the generations to come. As the Chief of Seine River, I stand in solidarity with The Alliance. I am calling all treaty partners to join and support us in moving the reconciliation agenda forward.” Continue Reading →

No One Wants To Talk About Ontario’s Disappearing Blue-Collar Communities – by Robert Waite (Huffington Post – October 16, 2017)

A lot can happen to a city or town in 35 years. Take Toronto — in 1982 the city still sported nicknames like “Toronto the Good” and “Hog Town.”  Visitors from New York and Montreal had another word for it: “Boring.”

Several decades (and several million more people) later, Toronto has transformed into one of the world’s most vibrant and diverse cities.

But this story isn’t about Toronto. It is about a town in Northern Ontario, Kapuskasing, located a good 10-hour drive (about 800 kilometres) away. It is about the fact that even in an age of global warming, life in Canada north of 45 degrees latitude (49.4, to be exact) can be precarious. Continue Reading →

Species at Risk policy fires up Northern leaders: Municipalities, industry, First Nations fear habitat protection rules could devastate forestry – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – October 4, 2017)

Queen’s Park can expect fierce resistance from Northerners if the province attempts to finalize controversial Species at Risk policy without proper consultation, said Kenora’s mayor.

“If they want to rush it through, they’re going to have a backlash like they’ve never seen before,” said Dave Canfield, past president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA). “There’s going to be a lot of us standing shoulder-to-shoulder.”

At issue are the new Species at Risk rules, designed to protect 28 species in Northern Ontario, which will be woven into the fabric of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA has raised the hackles of Northern leaders since it was passed in 2007. Continue Reading →

Fires Affect Canadian Lumber Mills, Get Close to Kinder Pipeline – by Natalie Obiko Pearson, Danielle Bochove and Jen Skerritt (Bloomberg News – July 11, 2017)

More than 300 wildfires in British Columbia have forced Canadian lumber mills to shut as hot, dry weather sparked blazes across swaths of western Canada and the U.S. Norbord Inc., the largest North American producer of oriented strand board used in residential construction, suspended production at its mill in 100 Mile House in central B.C. but stressed that, for now, the mill is safe.

“We were in a zone that got evacuated Sunday night so we shut the mill down and that continues to be the situation,” Norbord Chief Financial Officer Robin Lampard said by phone Tuesday morning. The Toronto-based company has 440 million square feet of annual production capacity. It hasn’t disclosed the cost per day of the shutdown, Lampard said.

Canfor Corp.’s operations aren’t directly affected by the wildfires, spokeswoman Corinne Stavness said in an email Tuesday. Interfor Corp. couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. Continue Reading →

Greenpeace is a menace to the world – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – June 24, 2017)

The little town of Saint-Félicien, in Quebec’s lovely Saguenay region, is under siege. The softwood lumber wars have broken out again, and that’s bad news. … Then there’s Greenpeace. “Greenpeace wants our total death!” mayor Gilles Potvin complained back in 2013. “If we listen to them, we can’t cut wood any more.”

Greenpeace has been waging a relentless campaign against Resolute Forest Products, the largest forest company in the region and in Canada. (It is the successor company to Abitibi and Bowater.)

Greenpeace has branded Resolute as a “forest destroyer” that is risking a “caribou herd death spiral” and harming the region’s First Nations. It has vigorously lobbied Resolute’s customers – including the world’s biggest book publishers – to boycott its paper and print products. Continue Reading →

The boreal forest ‘agreement’ was an eco-radical shakedown. Thankfully, it’s finally dead – by Peter Foster (Financial Post – February 1, 2017)

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA), one of the most ignominious deals in Canadian business history, is being quietly euthanized. Last week, its Ottawa-based secretariat was closed, without fanfare or eulogy. However, most of the agreement’s signatories seem as reluctant to admit its demise as they have been to acknowledge its true nature.

According to Derek Nighbor of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), which led the industry into the deal in 2010, the agreement isn’t really dead; it is “transitioning to a new model.”

Nighbor, a veteran of retail and packaged-goods industry associations, who has been head of FPAC for less than a year, claims that the CBFA has had its successes, and that forest companies are keen to “leverage the good learnings” from six years of “investment in bilateral decision-making.” Continue Reading →

Star Investigation: A Poisoned People – by David Bruser and Jayme Poisson (Toronto Star – July 24, 2016)

The steady drip of the neurotoxin mercury has percolated through river sediment, the food chain and generations of Grassy Narrows First Nations residents for more than four decades, killing a community’s livelihood and then contaminating its people.

GRASSY NARROWS FIRST NATION—For more than 40 years the mercury has percolated through river sediment, the food chain and generations of residents. From 100 kilometres upstream, the slow, steady drip of the neurotoxin first killed a community’s livelihood and then contaminated its people.

A disability board — set up by government officials in the mid-1980s to compensate those who can show doctors they suffer symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning — has approved claims from more than 300 applicants who suffer from tremors, loss of muscle co-ordination, slurred speech and tunnel vision. One of them was Marlin Kokopenace’s 17-year-old son, Calvin.

“(Calvin) was pretty frail. Continue Reading →