16 SEPTEMBER 2015
Fredericton – On Saturday, September 19th David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick will visit Miramichi to participate in a rally supporting the residents demand that the Gallant government work to strengthen their local economy by giving it more control over local resources, while respecting New Brunswick’s treaty relationship with the Mi’kmaq in the region.
For example, two mills in Miramichi lay idle for lack of access to Crown wood, when they could be putting more than 200 Miramichiers to work with the stroke of the Minister of Natural Resources pen. Yet, only 15% of the spruce and fir that is permitted to be cut from the Miramichi Crown license is available for Miramichi mills, and they are not even allowed to access it to put local people to work in local mills. The bulk of the wood is leaving the area to mills in Bathurst, Belledune, Atholville, Edmundston, Plaster Rock, and Chipman, while private woodlot owners struggle to find decent markets for their wood.
“We need to hit reset on our system of wood allocation from Crown land so that it strengthens local economies, as our Green Party candidate in the Carleton by-election, Andrew Clark, proposed in his region when Juniper Lumber went out of business,” said Coon.
Clark, a forestry contractor and trucker, says the Crown Lands and Forest Act must be replaced so that local forest resources are used to benefit the local economy. “When Juniper Lumber closed down, a group of us from our region established a cooperative to take over responsibility for the Crown wood in the area, but the government of the day turned us down.”
“The problem has been that Conservative and Liberal governments have been corporate governments, favouring the profitability of corporations over the health of our communities,” said the Green Party leader. “To make local economies and local jobs the priorities, local communities, like the Miramichi, have to pull together so they can become masters of their own house.” If we are to move New Brunswick forward, we must decentralize economic decision-making to promote regional self-reliance and initiative,” said Coon.
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