Date published: Friday, March 28, 2014
While the Ontario Government hopes Bill 83 will protect the ability of the public to participate in matters of public interest, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) knows activists will use it to amplify their baseless attacks on the forestry sector and cause permanent damage to the northern economy.
Activists from Greenpeace and other organizations have demonstrated they are completely unconcerned by the threat of legal action against them. They have even lost court a case against them for their unfounded allegations, been forced by the court to apologize, and then promptly continued their attacks. If losing a court case doesn’t curb their willingness to fabricate allegations, no threat of legal action concerns them in the least.
Shane Moffatt’s letter in the Financial Post (March 16) is a perfect example of the problem with the proposed Bill 83. In his letter, Moffatt defends the actions of Greenpeace Canada, which is facing a lawsuit from Resolute Forest Products. This apparently is the kind of lawsuit Moffatt wants Bill 83 to prevent. But as the previous court case proved, Greenpeace shows no regard for facts when they get in the way of their attacks.
“Activists suggest the cost of a threatened lawsuit limits their willingness to speak out, but that clearly hasn’t stopped them,” said Al Spacek, Mayor of Kapuskasing. “Instead, it’s the companies being attacked baselessly that are bearing the economic costs.”
It’s clear Moffatt does not care for the forestry industry, which he accuses of destroying forests without offering any proof. It’s also clear he has no concern for the people of northern Ontario who count on the employment generated by companies like Resolute for their livelihoods. Those of us in the north understand we have an incredibly valuable resource in the forest, and we know it will only remain a value if it is managed sustainably. Responsible use of this renewable resource will ensure it continues to provide employment and economic activity for our children and generations to come.
Moffatt and his ilk make a lot of noise about nature and the ecosystem, without ever acknowledging that humans are part of that ecosystem, too. By driving away all forestry, they’re effectively driving away all the people living in the north, people who are an integral part of the ecosystem. But those of us who actually live in the north, who work in the north, and who know the north better than these activists who can’t see the forest for the trees, we are the ones working with companies like Resolute to ensure a responsible use of our forests.
“The people of FONOM and NOMA protect the forest because it is our most vital resource. It sustains our economy, providing jobs and security for our families,” said Spacek. “Harming the forest would be harming our future, and the future of our children, and that is something we will not do. Instead of fighting against the forestry industry, we work with them to ensure this precious resource remains available for all.”
By working together, communities, First Nations, industry, and government have limited cut rates to .025%, or a quarter of one percent, per year. We together have instituted a 3 to 1 seedling plant ratio to ensure the forest will renew and be stronger in the future. This protects the forest and protects the vitality of our communities in the north. These are real, measureable achievements in maintaining a sustainable ecosystem for all of northern Ontario – wildlife, humans, and the forest.
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