OTTAWA, May 21, 2013 /CNW/ - As the President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), on behalf of the companies who signed the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA), we regret that environmental groups have suspended negotiations in northwest Ontario and Quebec but we are pleased that they remain committed to continuing the hard work of the CBFA.
This unique agreement covers all areas of the boreal where our companies operate from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains. On any given week we have over 100 company staff working in regional and national working groups across the country to implement the boreal agreement.
We signed this agreement with the objective of developing a new paradigm of working out difficult problems together. The agreement does not contemplate that you can pick and choose where you want to engage. After a suitable period of reflection we will encourage our environmental partners to return to the table with Resolute.
Forest companies belonging to FPAC remain committed to the principles of the CBFA and want to continue the hard work necessary to protect the environment including threatened species such as woodland caribou while also protecting the forest products industry and the communities and jobs that depend on it.
The CBFA is making great progress right across the country including blueprints for caribou action planning and protected areas planning that are the most comprehensive work ever done in this area; an agreement reached in northeast Ontario on caribou planning that has been endorsed by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities; notable progress in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and ongoing outreach to provincial governments, First Nations and communities.
We have learned in the first three years of working on these complex land use planning and conservation issues that there must be much more transparency and engagement of communities, First Nations and provincial governments. At the end of the day, any bilateral agreement between the environmental groups and industry must be accepted by government and all other affected land users.
The industry signatories have long agreed that implementing this ambitious agreement has not progressed as quickly as originally expected. However this is the largest and most complex deal of its kind anywhere in the world and we entered it without a template. We are learning and improving as we move forward.
This should not be about blame, but about respecting our pledge to replace confrontation with co-operation. The forest company signatories to this historic agreement are committed to continuing to work in a spirit of cooperation across the Boreal.
President and CEO, FPAC
FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.
For more on the CBFA go to: http://www.canadianborealforestagreement.com/
SOURCE: FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
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