Northern Mayors push back against Greenpeace
Mayor Peter Politis of Cochrane along with Mayor Roger Sigouin of Hearst joined The United Steelworkers Union, Local 1-2010 out of Kapuskasing in Augusta Georgia, to deliver a clear message to Greenpeace, a group they said is creating false alarmism in Northern Ontario regarding environmental issues.
The trio attended Resolute Forest Products annual shareholders meeting after learning that Greenpeace would be attending and delivering what they said was a radical message about the need to shut down Northern Ontario forests, thus placing the viability of hundreds of Canadian communities in jeopardy.
The northern leaders said they are pushing back against campaigns by radical groups like Greenpeace, who misinform, mislead and threaten customers of their local forest industries, which in turn threatens the viability of their communities.
After listening to Greenpeace spokespeople suggesting that Canada’s boreal forest (which covers all of northern Ontario) was somehow endangered and radical intervention was required, each northern leader took a turn at the podium, delivering what they termed a poignant and sincere message of their own.
The room was completely silent and attentive as each leader stood and spoke about what they said is misinformation being purported.
The trio spoke of what they said were underhanded tactics by the environmental group, saying:
1- Greenpeace is asking its supporters to deliberately send fabricated product reviews to targeted customers of the forest industry, who buy their products.
2- Greenpeace is driving threatening policies that seemed to be driven by environmental extremism, such as the Caribou Conservation Plan, which suggests 65% of environmentally sustainable forest harvest needs to be set aside to promote the “recovery” of Caribou in areas where they currently don’t live, even though the most recent science points out that the Caribou is the most abundant wild hoofed animal in Canada. With 3.89 million caribou spread across the country, there are more caribou than deer, moose and elk combined.
The northerners commented that less than one-half of a percent of Ontario Forests are harvested annually, while more than half of the forest is not available for harvest at all, adding 40 per cent of the entire world’s environmentally certified forests are in Canada of which Resolute Forest Products was the leader until what they said were recent attacks by Greenpeace. They also commented 95 per cent of the forest cover that existed 200 years ago still exists today.
The trio said each leader received a resounding round of applause at the end of their respective presentations and one could clearly sense the genuine wonder and surprise that had taken over the room.
Hearst Mayor, Roger Sigouin stood first and spoke both passionately and directly to the Greenpeace representatives.
“You people arguing that one species like Caribou, which science shows is not endangered, must be introduced to areas where they don’t live now, without consideration for the people who have lived there for generations. (The implementation of the Caribou Conservation Plan will be) like dropping a bomb right in the middle of Northern Ontario. The aftermath will be entire communities dying and I can tell you right now, it’s not something we’re going to stand for," he commented.
Jacques Jean, of The United Steelworkers Local 1-2010 spoke about the workforce affected by the influence of Greenpeace who do not live or understand the reality around the region.
"Our workforce not only works in the Boreal Forest but is directly responsible for the world class forest management that takes place. Our lives are directly connected to the health of the forest and we take that very seriously,” he said.
Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis spoke last and attempted to draw attention to what he said was getting lost in all the bantering.
“While everyone seems focused on the issue between extremism and industry, what’s getting lost is the entire race of people and the endeared way of life, the Canadian way of life, that is being threatened in the process. Once you get away from the 100 km band by the U.S. border where 90% of the Canadian population exists, there is still 5,000 km’s to the north and to the east and west in Canada, where the rest of us live. We not only live in harmony with the forest because our lives are directly linked to it, but because we are every bit as much a part of the ecosystem as any other species in it. Who’s looking after our interests along with Caribou and the others?" he asked.
The leaders went on to express how Northern Ontario’s Boreal forest is world-renowned and undergoes some of the most rigorous environmental regulation in the world. They explained how Northern Ontario was still one of the few places in the world where sustainable development opportunities still exist and that resources can be sourced knowing they are coming from one of the world’s most environmentally responsible regions, where they said people and nature exist in perfect harmony together.
At the end of his speech Mayor Politis thanked Resolute Forest Products for being so responsible in how they manage Northern Boreal Forests and for their commitment to the greatest way of life in the best backyard on the planet, while also not only believing in the region but the people who make the region their home.
“On behalf of all of us, here’s to being world leaders in having a long, prosperous, environmentally healthy and responsible future, together," said Politis.
The next steps see the local Mayors continuing the formation of an alliance with other Mayors in Quebec and Ontario, while continuing to formally organize along with the workforce at large.
A conference call is being set up this week and more news will follow soon.