Queen’s Park – Timmins- James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson cautioned the government Friday on the Ontario Forestry Tenure Modernization Act. “The government is proposing a radical change to the forest tenure system in Ontario and it is my intention to make sure that all those affected – forest industry, communities, First Nations and environmental groups – have an opportunity to really have a say in this process,” said Bisson.
The Ontario Forestry Tenure Modernization Act will fundamentally change the allocation and pricing system for Ontario’s forest industry. The Government has indicated that they intend to go through second and third reading of the Act this spring despite criticism and concerns from groups affected.
“There are serious and vocal concerns in communities across the North over the change in the competitive bidding system and prices going up. Those concerns are not being addressed by the government which makes these communities rightfully sceptical of this whole process,” said Bisson.
Kenora-Rainy River MPP Howard Hampton also expressed his concerns over the Act and the pace that the government is trying to push this legislation through this session.
“Any Forest tenure policy that results in Ontario’s publicly owned crown forest being sold off to the highest bidders outside of Ontario and being used to sustain jobs there rather than in Northern Ontario is bad policy and should not be pursued,” said Hampton. “This will be a repeat of what people have seen with the Xstrata and Inco smelter shutdowns in Ontario and their shipping of unprocessed copper ore to Quebec to smelt and with it we lose valuable value added jobs from the North.”