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Question 3 : Healing our Forests

How will your Party strike a balance between restoring (not just protecting) the ecological integrity of Canada’s forests (especially the massive boreal forest region) and the need for an economically and environmentally sustainable forestry sector?

Q3 New Democrat +  

Naturally-occurring ecosystem services provided by the Boreal forest, such as carbon storage and water filtration, are worth 2.5 times more than the value of extracting resources such as minerals and timber. The Boreal forest houses 25% of the world’s remaining original forests. It is Canada’s largest ecosystem, covering 58 per cent of the country.

New Democrats believe in sustainable development principles as set out by the Brundtland Commission that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” New Democrats believe Canada needs conservation planning in the Boreal and across the country that not only meets our domestic and international targets, but strives to exceed them.

We need a Federal Government that will identify and report on any significant gaps in monitoring of the sustainability of Canadian forests. We need to invest increased resources for research on potential cumulative impacts to the sustainability or our forests, including the potential value of Canadian forests in mitigating climate change impacts.

Across British Columbia we have lost dozens of forestry mills and thousands of good paying wood and forestry jobs due to the Conservative’s years of neglect of British Columbia’s forestry sector and their “rip-and-ship” mentality. New Democrats believe in getting the most value and the most jobs for British Columbians out of the logs harvested here. We're committed to working with the province and First Nations to reduce raw log exports, investing in forestry innovation and R&D, while promoting Canadian value-added wood products in Canada and abroad.

Q3 Green +  

In order to maintain health and resilience, forests must be diverse.

The best path to an economically and environmentally sustainable forestry sector requires getting as much value as possible from our forests, something that is enhanced by the diversity that is only found in the natural forests that arise to fill the specific ecological niches in this country. Shipping raw logs, supporting monoculture in replanting and sacrificing value add industries in trade deals are three things we currently do that do not support diversity, both in our forests and in our economy.

The boreal is under attack, primarily due to climate change. Pine beetle and wildfire are two consequences of a warming planet. Reducing emissions is the only path to protecting this forest.

The Green policy platform is thin on specifics on this issue. It leaves considerable latitude for an MP to work with First Nations, the communities involved, and provincial and territory governments towards solutions that protect ecosystem integrity and biodiversity, while enhancing local social and economic initiatives.

Q3 Liberal +  

Forest management is under provincial jurisdiction. However, as with other environmental challenges under the jurisdiction of the Provinces, the Federal government must be prepared to sit down with First Ministers to work together. History has shown that Canada works best when all orders of government work together to solve problems that matter to Canadians.

The Federal government has a role to play in innovation and competiveness and securing access to international markets. As we have seen in forestry and other sectors, markets are demanding environmental stewardship.

Canada’s natural resource sectors can be world leaders in innovation and sustainability – and the federal government can help. We will invest $200 million more annually to create sector-specific strategies that support innovation and clean technologies in the fisheries, mining, energy, agricultural and forestry sectors. These strategies will be developed in collaboration with the private sector, government, and research institutions, with the objective of producing real innovations that can be deployed in our natural resources sectors, commercialized, brought to scale, and exported.

A Liberal government will work to better protect Canada’s endangered species. This means responding faster to scientific advice on listing species, meeting mandatory timelines for responding to Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommendations and completing a robust species at risk recovery plans.