Along with the Ontario Forest Industry Association and its counterpart in Quebec the Quebec Forest Industry Council, the group held a press conference at Parliament Hill and then a series of meetings with federal ministries on the issues at hand (namely eco-terrorism).
The mayors are pushing back against campaigns by groups like Greenpeace (which they refer to as “radical” because they “misinform, mislead and threaten customers of their local forest industries, which in turn is threatening the viability of their communities.
At the press conference examples were provided that reinforced this point, such as Greenpeace asking its supporters to deliberately send fabricated product reviews to targeted customers of the forest industry, who buy their products.
Dialogue between the mayors and the government focused on threatening policy that seemed to be driven by environmental extremism, like Caribou conservation policy that suggests 65% of sustainable forest harvest needs to be set aside to promote the “recovery” of Caribou in areas where they currently don’t live, effectively shutting down entire Canadian communities across the country. The notion of Caribou even being “endangered” was questioned by the mayors citing recent research by Ontario (which spent $11 million seeking science to support their embattled caribou policy) that actually demonstrates that caribou range recession has been minimal since the 1950s and puts into question the validity of the woodland caribou ecotype theory.
The latter divides Ontario’s woodland caribou into two ecotypes, one that is questionably listed provincially as ‘threatened’.
The research also brings into question the multiple classification tactic being used by groups like Greenpeace that simply keep dividing the population until “ecotypes” are reduced to the point of creating an illusion of endangerment. The science (including the $11 million just spent by Ontario) has yet to prove that there exists a genetic difference between “Eco Type, Forest Dwelling Woodland Caribou and other Tundra Dwelling Caribou – In effect suggesting that genetically “Caribou” are Caribou.
The mayors pointed out that in reality, the best perspective is gained when understanding that in fact, the Caribou is 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 event was also used to promote the forest management system that actually exists in Ontario and Quebec that has made it law to ensure forests are managed sustainably and environmentally responsible.
Facts were provided such as: 40% of the entire world’s environmentally certified forests are in Canada; and that 95% of the forest cover that existed 200 years ago still exists today.
On the issue, Mayor Politis had this to say, “The misguided agenda of extremists who live thousands of kilometers away and who are consumed with their own interests, has taken away from the real story of the world renowned forest management that actually takes place in Northern Ontario, preserving some of the countries last remaining sustainable development opportunities.
“They insist on making this an either or proposition that environmental health and thriving socioeconomic communities somehow can’t coexist together and by doing so, they’re attacking the very essence of the pioneering spirit that Canada is built on along with the reputation Canadians have as a progressive, responsible country.
“Lost in this, is the entire race of people and an endeared way of life that exists beyond the 100 km band along the US border where our most populous centers are, and composing the remaining 5,000 km’s of the country to the north, east and west.”
On this Mayor Politis asked the government representatives, “while policy seems to be influenced by this type of eco-terrorism, who is protecting us, the people who suffer the outcomes of policy? Who is keeping the focus on the hundreds of thousands of families that not only live harmoniously with nature in the vast majority of Canada’s geography, but who are as much part of the ecosystem as any other species in it?“
On the coming together of mayors from two provinces, Mayor Politis added, “I am absolutely thrilled to have had an opportunity to be part of an historic moment, where northern Canadians erase borders to come together under the common cause of defending the greatest way of life in the best backyard on the planet. It was clear today that we are many and we are organizing. I look forward to continuing to build this alliance and in doing so, continue to make sure that the entire race of people who live here, along with a way of life shared by Canadians from coast to coast to coast, is not lost in this discussion any longer.”