Archive | Forestry

Endangered Species Act hot topic at upcoming NEOMA – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 25, 2016)

KIRKLAND LAKE – Concerns over Ontario’s Endangered Species Act continue to dominate discussions amongst Northeastern Ontario municipal leaders.

Less than two weeks after the annual meeting of FONOM (Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities) was held in Timmins, Northern leaders are now preparing for the annual meeting of the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) which is to be held in Kirkland Lake this coming Friday.

Several items on the NEOMA agenda include The Endangered Species Act and what the implementation of the act means for Northern Ontario communities that rely on resource-based industries, such as logging and mining. The Act will be spoken to in a presentation to be made by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). Continue Reading →

How forest fires shaped the history of Timmins – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – March 19, 2016)

You cannot talk about the history of Northern Ontario without talking about forest fires and their impact on the development of the region.

The Great Porcupine Fire of 1911 almost wiped out the entire Ontario gold mining industry in one day; fortunately, the early investors and residents of the camp were made of stronger stuff and they chose to remain here and rebuild (and they most certainly reaped the rewards of their decisions!).

Lesson learned: there is no escape route once the rail lines are destroyed.  Fast forward to 1916 – yet again, the north is threatened with huge forest fires, and Timmins, although not in the thick of it, certainly did not come out clean. Continue Reading →

Resolute Forest’s day in court promises to expose global anti-development agenda -by Peter Foster (National Post – January 6, 2016)

Now the Quebec government is calling for the Forest Council to back down

Slowly but surely, multinational environmental enforcer Greenpeace is being dragged kicking and screaming to court to answer for its job-destroying misinformation campaigns in the name of “protecting” Canadian forests, which are among the best regulated in the world.

The company doing the dragging is Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products, which has distinguished itself for being prepared to stand up to Greenpeace’s brand of shakedown.

The case is immediately rooted in the rancid 2010 Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, under which a cabal of radical environmental non-governmental organizations, ENGOs, Continue Reading →

BATTLE FOR THE BOREAL – by Peter Kuitenbrouwer (National Post – December 4, 2015)

The workday is over at the Hotel Matagami. Guests in steel-toe boots eat club sandwiches with poutine, drink five-dollar bottles of Labatt 50 and cheer the TV as the Montreal Canadiens thrash the New York Rangers.

At one table, Nicolas Mainville, 37, a biologist with Greenpeace, opens a ThinkPad with a sticker on its lid. It reads: “May the forest be with you.”

The screen glows with 33,000 kilometres of red tentacles: these are the logging roads on Crown land in the boreal forest, the same forest that doubles as hunting grounds for the Cree Nation of Waswanipi.

Those two activities are clashing, with the Cree and the loggers both blaming the other for unfairly damaging their way of life. Continue Reading →

COUNTING CARIBOU – by Ontario Forest Industries Association (May 2015)

How Did Canada’s Most Populous Ungulate End Up On Ontario’s Endangered Species List?

The caribou is the most abundant wild hoofed animal in Canada. With 3.89 million caribou spread across the country, there are more caribou than deer, moose, and elk combined. It is globally abundant, too, since the caribou of Canada is the same species as the reindeer of Eurasia. So how did the most widespread and populous ungulate end up on Ontario’s Endangered Species List? It’s all about how they were counted.

There are five subspecies of caribou in Canada, with “woodland caribou” being the most widespread. It lives in mountainous areas, mature forests, and very sparse forests, where its preferred food – lichens – are abundant. Woodland caribou number about 1.28 million in Canada, according to the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Canada. Accordingly, it is far too numerous for the subspecies to be considered at risk as a whole.

However, the woodland caribou subspecies has been subdivided into two ecotypes: the “forest-tundra ecotype,” which moves between habitats; and the “forest-dwelling ecotype,” which prefers to live in the woods. One of these ecotypes is less populous, and therefore considered threatened. Needless to say, if any animal population is subdivided enough times, the result is bound to be a very small population that can be considered at risk, threatened, or endangered. That could be what has happened with woodland caribou in Ontario. Continue Reading →

Greenpeace responds to ‘eco-terrorist’ portrayal – by Alan S. Hale (Timmins Daily Press – June 12, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Greenpeace is fighting back after members of North Eastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) likened the environmentalist group to “eco-terrorism.”

During a press conference this week, the mayors of NEOMA member communities, including Timmins’ Steve Black, announced that they were banding together to fight environmental groups such as Greenpeace, which they believe are making it impossible to start new forestry products in the region.

Greenpeace has responded by denying any claims they are calling for a boycott of companies harvesting in the Boreal Forest.

According to Greenpeace spokesman, Richard Brooks, the group has a problem with just one major forestry company harvesting in the Boreal Forest, Resolute Forest Products, and they don’t even operate anywhere near Timmins. Resolute closed its Iroquois Falls paper mill late last year.

“I think it’s important to clarify that we are not against forestry, we’re not against logging, and we’re certainly not against jobs in the North,” said Brooks. Continue Reading →

Ontario gives northern industry permanent relief from energy costs (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 7, 2015)

The Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program will carry on indefinitely, province says

A program that reduces energy costs for northern industries — like mining and forestry — will carry on indefinitely, the Ontario government says.

Speaking at a news conference at Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay pulp mill on Tuesday, Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle told reporters that Ontario would commit up to $120 million a year permanently to the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program, which was to expire in March of 2016.

First introduced in 2010, the program is a benefit to companies such as Resolute, Goldcorp, AV Terrace Bay, and North American Palladium, Gravelle said.

“It positions them to certainly be able to maintain operations but also potentially expand and create more jobs,” he added. The program can help cut up to 25 per cent from energy costs incurred by qualifying businesses. “It reduces our costs significantly on our site,” said Goldcorp’s Musselwhite mine general manager Bill Gascon.

“Our second highest cost on our site in production is energy — behind labour — so it’s huge for us. We’re a very energy intensive industry.” Continue Reading →

[Northern Ontario – Iroquois Falls] Small Town Shut Down – The Agenda’s Steve Paikin interviews Michael Shea, Jamison Steeve, Madge Richardson and Stan Sudol (March 11, 2015)

Resolute Forest Products is shutting down the newsprint mill in Iroquois Falls, Ontario, a move that will result in the loss of 182 jobs , continuing to erode livelihoods in a town of just 4600. The forestry company essentially built Iroquois Falls a century ago and was its largest employer. Like many other single-resource towns in the north, Iroquois Falls is losing its population to larger southern cities. The Agenda looks at the deep structural problems facing our northern economy, and how other small towns in Ontario face the same circumstances.

Greenpeace stands for delay, delay, delay – by Peter Foster (National Post – July 30, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Greenpeace Canada continues to squirm to avoid coming up with a defence against Resolute Forest Products’ $7-million lawsuit alleging “intentional interference with economic relations;” that is, trying to destroy Resolute’s business by pressuring its customers

Last Friday, lawyers for Greenpeace sought leave to appeal the decision of the Divisional Court of Ontario (which had rejected an earlier appeal and told Greenpeace to file a defence, plus pay costs).

The case has significant ramifications for whether radical NGOs will be allowed to continue to spread misinformation, trample over corporate reputations, and destroy business and jobs. This is somewhat related to those over-ballyhooed CRA audits of charitable institutions, although Greenpeace had its charity status removed long ago. In fact, “intentional interference with economic relations” could almost be Greenpeace’s mission statement.

The suit goes back to claims made by Greenpeace about Resolute’s business practices after the radical environmental NGO exited the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the deeply flawed 2010 deal under which forestry companies were persuaded that they could buy off their radical opponents by becoming “partners” in plans to sanitize huge swathes of Canada in the name of “environmental protection.” Screw the people who lived there. Continue Reading →

How Greenpeace landed itself in serious legal trouble with its campaign against a forestry company – by Terence Corcoran (National Post – July 16, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

For some time Greenpeace Canada has been mounting a campaign to bring SLAPP legislation into Canada, the idea being the corporations should be legally discouraged from taking legal action against aggressive environmental activists.

SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, a concept swallowed whole by Ontario’s Liberal government, which produced a bill that would prevent a corporation from responding to defamatory statements made by groups such as Greenpeace. The green groups, after all, are said to be acting “in the public interest” and should therefore be above the laws of defamation that might prevent them taking on private corporate interests.

Well, Greenpeace just suffered a major defeat in Ontario court that goes way beyond the narrow confines of defamation and SLAPP legislation. In a decision Tuesday, an Ontario Divisional Court tribunal ordered Greenpeace Canada to pay $22,000 in legal costs to forest giant Resolute Forest Products. The court also ordered Greenpeace “to deliver its statement of defence within 10 days of this decision.”

That should be easy for Greenpeace, since it has been dragging its heels on the Resolute lawsuit for more than a year. It’s had plenty of time to prepare a response to Resolute’s numerous allegations and claims filed in Ontario Superior Court in May 2013.

Those charges were neatly summarized in the Divisional Court’s Tuesday decision. Resolute, in its statement of claim against Greenpeace: Continue Reading →

Supreme Court to decide on Grassy Narrows logging dispute – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – July 10, 2014)

Ontario First Nation argues province has no jurisdiction on treaty lands

A ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday will help determine who controls resource extraction across much of the country.

Grassy Narrows First Nation, north of Kenora, Ont., is arguing that the province does not have the right to issue logging or mining permits on its traditional lands.

“After years of trying to get the [forest] industry and the minister of natural resources to take it easy on the forest, we decided to launch a court case,” said trapper J.B. Fobister, one of the plaintiffs in the case that was launched in 2000.

Fobister said many people in Grassy Narrows need the forest to make a living. He estimates he makes up to $10,000 a year trapping pine marten. Some families rely on moose as a major food source.

But Fobister said industrial logging in the area interferes with all of that. “If you have no forest, you don’t have animals,” he said. “We need to see some benefits from the destruction of our homeland. There is no plan to replace what is taken from us.” Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Supreme Court hears Grassy Narrows’ legal case for Treaty rights and against clearcut logging

Ontario’s new plan for clearcut logging at Grassy Narrows looms

Ottawa – May 15, 2014  – Today the Supreme Court of Canada will hear Grassy Narrows’ legal case for treaty rights and against clearcut logging. The case challenges Ontario’s jurisdiction to unilaterally award logging and mining licenses on a vast tract of Treaty 3 lands north of the English River (the Keewatin Lands). The case, called Keewatin v. MNR, has been winding its way through the courts for fourteen years.

In Treaty 3, signed in 1873, Canada promised to respect the right of the Ojibway to hunt and fish in their territory.

However, Ontario continues to plan for clearcut logging throughout Grassy Narrows’ Territory that will seriously limit Grassy Narrows’ rights, and has finalized a new 10 year Forest Management Plan for Grassy Narrows’ Territory that includes numerous large clearcuts permitted by Ontario against Grassy Narrows’ will. The new plan was scheduled to take effect in April 2014, but has been delayed due to a request for environmental assessment and widespread opposition including by grassroots Grassy Narrows youth and Ontario Regional Chief Beardy.

“We hope the Supreme Court will agree that the original intent of our Treaty with Canada must be upheld to protect our way of life,” said Chief Roger Fobister Sr. of Grassy Narrows. Continue Reading →

Grassy Narrows takes logging fight to Supreme Court – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – May 15, 2014)

A case before the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday could determine the future of resource extraction in much of the country. Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, is challenging Ontario’s right to issue logging or mining permits on their treaty lands.

Councillor Rudy Turtle said the clear cutting of trees near his home has ruined trap lines and scared away the moose in the area.

“If someone can’t get a moose, they have to rely on store-bought food, which is unhealthy and very expensive,” Turtle said.”Whenever someone kills a moose, it’s their supply of meat for their whole family for the winter.”

The First Nation argued successfully in an Ontario court that their treaty rights to hunt, trap and fish are “subject only to limits placed by the federal government,” as laid out in Treaty 3. Ontario appealed that decision all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The lawyer for Grassy Narrows said the case will lay out the responsibility of the federal government “to try to help sort things out between the non-Aboriginal people who want to use resources and the Aboriginal people who are also using those resources.” Continue Reading →

Caribou protection hampers [northern Ontario] forestry upswing – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – February 5, 2014)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – At a time when the forest industry in this province is predicting a major upswing, Cochrane could end up losing jobs in this sector because of the impacts from government policies to protect caribou habitat.

Jamie Lim, president and chief executive of the Ontario Forest Industries Association, said the industry is looking at a “recovery hat-trick” which includes a rise in U.S. housing starts, changes to the Canadian building code next year which will allow the use of timber frames in higher-rise construction, and the global trend towards “green” or renewable building materials which favours wood.

However, she expressed concerns about limited gains being be made in forest-dependent communities like Cochrane where the new Abitibi River Forest Management Plan predicts “less economic benefits” due to a reduction in available harvest volumes.

The existing long-term management plan calls for a 65% volume reduction over the next 25 years. “The lower volumes translate into reduced manufacture of primary products, less taxes and less employment opportunities,” according to the analysis on Page 204 of that plan. Continue Reading →

Grassy Narrows First Nation on alert for logging – by Crystal Greene (CBC News Aboriginal – February 3, 2014)

Longest running First Nations blockade effectively stopped logging since December 2002

The Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows) is on alert for logging trucks to come in April 2014. Grassy Narrows is the home of the longest running First Nations blockade in Canada. Its original Slant Lake blockade site, about 100 km north of Kenora, Ontario, started on December 2, 2002.

Judy DaSilva is a member of Grassy Narrows First Nation and has been on the forefront right from the start. “As a mom, I’ll do whatever I can to protect the forests, pretty much the other moms around here have the same mindset,” said DaSilva a mother of five with concern for the future generations.

In 2002, DaSilva was tired of seeing mercury debilitate her people, watching logging trucks pass by her home and took action.

Last year, DaSilva won a Michael Sattler Peace Prize from the German Mennonite Peace Committee for her non-violent direct-action approach in the blockade at Grassy Narrows traditional territory, within the Treaty 3 region. Logging halted for over 11 years, but in the past few months things are picking up once again. Continue Reading →