Today, six multinational companies have jurisdiction over 70% of
all forested land in New Brunswick. Their control of 20% of industrial
freehold and more than 50% of the Crown Land now determines everything
that happens in the forests of New Brunswick from the stump to the
mill. This has made it almost impossible to get fair prices for
privately owned wood. We don't see anything in the Jaakko Poyry report
that even mentions the current imbalance created by multinational
corporations having direct control of such a great percentage of the
highest quality forest wood supply of New Brunswick.
The report also states DNRE and the forest industries should reduce
the cost of forestry management, by reducing manpower, to make the
sector more viable. New Brunswick is cited for having relatively high
staffing levels in comparison to such provinces as Québec and
It appears to me that the fox is saying, "don't worry, and let
me look after the chicken coop". Well, I am not sure the chickens
are safe. Let's look at what DNRE staffing has done for the owners of
the Crown Land in the Miramichi of New Brunswick. According to recent
reports, 34 fines for a total of $27 818.26 were issued to two
forestry companies working in the Crown forests of Northumberland
County. Some of these fines related to culverts that were not properly
stabilized, load slips that were improperly completed, oil spillage,
harvesting outside designated harvesting blocks, wasteful harvesting
practices, and cutting unapproved harvesting blocks.
On the heels of a very busy year for Forest Rangers who work on
Crown Lands, the Jaakko Poyry has the audacity to state that we have
too many Forest Rangers. When we talk to DNRE, however, they tell us
that they do not have enough staff to supervise Crown Lands. As a
result, it is very likely that just a small percentage of forestry
practice infractions are detected.
The Jaakko Poyry report tells us to follow the lead of Finland but
only to the parts that fit the multinational wish list. In Finland,
wood production was clearly the objective of forestry policy until the
1980's. Today there is an emphasis on protection, conservation, and
recreational values. Finland is establishing more of a balance in its
forests, moving away from plantations. Looking at some of the
recommendations of the Jaakko Poyry report, these new directions and
ideas in Finnish forestry are totally discounted and rejected.
The average size forest holding in Finland is around 26 hectares,
and 63% of all private land holdings are less than 20 hectares. The
proportion of timber from private forests, with respect to wood used by
domestic industry and mills, is approximately 80% annually. Each year
there are 100 000 to 150 000 wood sale agreements, with the average
amount of timber being about 400m3. Do the Finnish sell their wood for
the price we have currently in New Brunswick?
In Finland, the state owns 35% of the forested land and 80% of this
state-owned land is in northern Finland. Due to pressure for other
forms of use, this land generates only about 10% of the forest
industry's total fiber demand. Recreation and forest conservation are
assigned to Finland's state forests, in addition to wood production.
The annual timber sale from state land currently stands at less than
10% of the volume generated from New Brunswick Crown forest. In New
Brunswick, the Crown owns approximately 50% of all the forestland, but
it currently supplies between 40 and 50% of the forest industry's
The JP report illustrates a disregard for forest protection. It
suggests, for instance, increasing the volume of wood cutting in areas
currently set aside for conservation, deer yards, and buffer strips
along salmon rivers. The report does not mention that community
forestry practices prevail in Finland, with 62% of the forest owned by
440 000 private forest owners. If family members are taken into
account, every fifth Finnish person helps make decisions on matters
connected with the forest and its future.
Finnish people decide how their forests are managed. Those involved
in the decision-making process include municipalities, parishes, small
communities, and other organizations that supply wood to the mills.
This is the practice that the people of New Brunswick want their
government to enact. Last year many meetings were held in many
communities and our wishes were made clear to the Minister of Natural
Resources & Energy, Mr. Jeannot Volpé. In Allardville, more than
700 people expressed their concerns regarding the loss of jobs by
power saw operators and skidder operators employed by UPM Kymenne, a
Who pays and who
There is another issue that should greatly concern New Brunswickers:
the Jaakko Poyry report recommends doubling the softwood supply. This will
require additional investment by the taxpayers of New Brunswick in silviculture costs. This investment will definitely
increase from the $23 million in the 2001-2002 provincial budget to
just over $50 million per year, then taper off to
$34 million a year.
Most New Brunswickers are already paying the maximum taxes that they
can afford. Now we, and our children and future grandchildren, are
expected to be financially responsible for an investment that will
benefit multinational corporations.
As owners of the forests of New Brunswick, we need consultation, but
it should not be limited to a report that looks only at how much
profit major corporations want. These companies are currently focused
on increasing their profits by reducing the number of good jobs they
offer. We are witnessing this firsthand on the Miramichi, where it was
reported that UPM wants to reduce expenses by 10 million dollars a
year. People who are currently well paid, and deservedly so, are
destined for unemployment.
Today, multinational corporations, their shareholders, and the
companies that make machines for operation in the mills and forests
profit greatly from our forestry operations. We need to ask ourselves
this question: "Are those individuals deriving a greater benefit
from our woodlands than the people of New Brunswick?"