THUNDER BAY – “Our report shows Premier Dalton McGuinty and Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle that they have a real opportunity now in Northwestern Ontario to get the forestry industry back on track,” said Catharine Grant, Greenpeace forest campaigner. “By following through with the recommendations in this report, they can help the forestry industry prosper through diversification and access to expanding green markets.”
The Greenpeace report, “Building a Green Economy in the Boreal Forest,” lays out a vision for the development of the Boreal Forest to build new, stable, viable economies that communities can count on in the long term, while preserving the tremendous ecological values contained in the Boreal Forest.
Kim Ginter, CEP’s Ontario Region Vice-President, says forestry workers support the report’s recommendations. “Forestry workers have taken a major hit over the last few years,” said Ginter. “Provincial and federal governments need to take immediate concrete steps to stimulate the forestry sector so northwestern families can continue working in their communities. ‘Building a Green Economy’ shows both governments how to take these steps.”
Report recommendations to provincial and federal governments include:
- Provide green tax credits and conservation funding,
- Adopt ecosystem-based management and Forest Stewardship Council certification,
- Allocate more Crown forests for community-based initiatives and value added processing,
- Provide transition funding to help forest-dependent communities diversify,
- Support non-timber forest products and services such as wild food and ecotourism,
- Increase co-management arrangements with First Nations.
“With Premier McGuinty and Minister Gravelle’s support, forestry workers in northern communities can stay on the job without compromising the natural environment,” said Grant. “While the forest must be treated with greater care, there are also significant green economic opportunities for forest-based communities.”