18 FEBRUARY 2015
(FREDERICTON, NB) - To restore the full authority of the provincial government to manage Crown lands in keeping with its obligations to First Nations communities and to the general public, the Leader of the Green Party and MLA for Fredericton South tabled a bill in the Legislature today, entitledAn Act to Return to the Crown Certain Rights Relating to Timber Supply and Forest Management.
If passed, the Act to Return to the Crown Certain Rights Relating to Timber Supply and Forest Management will annul the memoranda of agreement signed by the Department of Natural Resources with forestry companies which guarantee an increased annual allowable cut for the next 25 years, along with several forest management agreements designed to implement those guarantees.
The purposes of the bill are to:
- Restore the ability of the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy to exercise full responsibility for the development, utilization, protection and integrated management of the resources of Crown land in accordance with Section 3(1)b and 3(1)c of the Crown Lands and Forests Act;
- Ensure that the Crown meets its obligation to consult and accommodate First Nations communities concerning any major changes to the use and management of Crown lands;
- Safeguard Aboriginal and treaty rights held by First Nations communities in New Brunswick; and
- Restore the ability of the Minister to encourage the management of private forest lands as the primary source of timber for wood processing facilities in accordance with Section 3(2) of theCrown Lands and Forests Act.
"The forestry agreements signed by the former government undermine the ability of the present and future governments to manage Crown lands for the common good. This bill provides the opportunity for Premier Gallant to stand up for New Brunswickers and reset the clock to regain public authority over Crown lands that these agreements removed," Mr. Coon stated.