OTTAWA, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ -
The closure of Resolute Forest Products in Liverpool Nova Scotia is a
devastating body blow to hundreds of workers and their families, to the
town of Liverpool and to the forest industry in this province.
As investors turn their back on Nova Scotia, the rest of us are left to
pick up the pieces. Is it possible that out of these ashes there may
still be a future for forestry in Nova Scotia?
I say yes, but only if the Nova Scotia government acts quickly and
decisively to acquire the timberlands of Resolute and integrate them
into Nova Scotia's public forests.
Here is a true window of opportunity for the government to exercise its
authority and responsibility to reform the forest industry.
Forestry is a renewable resource. It is the ultimate green industry,
generating vast wealth from trees that grow back again after they've
been cut. Mind you, it takes generations to produce mature trees, and
therein lies the tragedy of allowing short-term market considerations
to determine the future of this resource.
Though 94% of Canada's forests are publicly owned, in Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, the land is mostly owned by private
interests, and dominated by many of the largest corporations in the
Those corporations are often without long-term commitment to the forest
industry or forest communities. Business decisions about forestry
operations or a pulp and paper mill are usually motivated, not by
productivity issues in the workplace, but by financial markets and
Companies want the right to close mills, throw people out of work and
break the link between harvesting the forest and providing jobs in
forest communities. And by and large, they have been given free rein to
do just that: a practice that has failed workers, communities and
Clearly, public ownership and regulation of forest lands is the only way
to balance economic development and the public interest.
The closure of Resolute Forests Products is a springboard for government
action. Premier Dexter should take this opportunity to ensure that his
province remains a world leader in forestry. The province should
immediately purchase the private forest lands owned by the company to
ensure the citizens of Nova Scotia have access to forest-dependent jobs
and their community for the long run.
Practicing sustainable harvest levels and allocation of the resource to
the highest and best use will go along way to achieving those goals.
Value-added manufacturing such as wood products, prefabricated housing,
specialty grades of paper, and others are among the options for
maximizing economic benefit from our forest resource within sustainable
limits. Wildlife, tourism and other values also have to be recognized
The Nova Scotia government holds the basic tools to be able to stimulate
and rebuild the forest industry. It's high time to put those tools to
good use for the people of Nova Scotia.
SOURCE COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA
For further information:
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
301 Laurier Avenue West