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Rally for Nova Scotia Forests

by Palmira Boutillier

The Raging Grannies singing at the rally
Many forest ralliers had signs to express their sentiments
Forest Rallier: trees give oxygen
Forest Rallier: Biomassacre referring to cutting down trees for energy from biomass burning
Forest Rally Families
Forest Rallier Stands Tall
Youth with a message
The crowd outside the legislature
Rally for our Forests
Forest Ralliers
Musician: Katharine Langille
Musician: Chris Luedecke
Rally for our Forests
Recent Graduate of the University of New Brunswick’s Forestry Program, Matt Miller
Liberal MLAs: Andrew Younger and Leo Glavine
NDP MLA: Sid Prest talking to the crowd about his woodlot
Minister of Natural Resources, John MacDonell, addressing the crowd at Friday's rally
Rally Organizer and EAC Forestry Program Coordinator, Jamie Simpson, shaking hands with and Minister of Natural Resources, John MacDonell.
Rally for our Forests was organized by the Ecology Action Centre and Save Caribou

Approximately 400 people attended Rally for our Forests in front of the provincial legislature on Friday, many traveling from outside HRM to be there for the 10am start. Jamie Simpson, the forest program coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, planned the rally to “join in a public show of support for the future of Nova Scotia's forests and the communities that depend on them.”

The rally brought together 13 speakers representing NGOs, activists, academics, musicians, and citizen groups, to discuss forestry issues.

One speaker, Kathy Didkowsky, was speaking for the organization Save Caribou which represents members of the Caribou Gold Mines Community opposed to the clear-cutting taking place in their wild-spaces.

Wade Prest is a wood-lot owner and past president of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association. He manages 1,900 acres of forestland and "subscribes to the notion that economic benefits from our forests will be available to us if we preserve and protect and maintain the ecological integrity of the forest first."

Other speakers included student William Meuse from Bear River First Nation, Dr. Ed Belzer a woodlot owner and retired Dalhousie faculty member, Mark Parent a former Minister of the Environment, Jim Horwich from Trout Nova Scotia, Barbara Markovits from Eastern Shore Watch, Jamie McCamon a student in Environmental Technology and Matt Miller a recent graduate from forestry at the University of New Brunswick.

The Raging Grannies, Katharine Langille and Chris Luedecke (aka Old Man Luedecke) provided musical interludes, singing protest songs or songs about nature to everyone's enjoyment.

Four politicians from the provincial NDP and Liberal parties also came to the podium to announce their position on forestry issues. All this at a time when the Department of Natural Resources is in the midst of developing a Natural Resource Strategy. The strategy is currently in phase three. The government is taking the recommendations from first two phases and integrating them into policies and directions. This rally was organized in part to show support for recommendations of the Forests Panel of Expertise Report written by R. Bancroft and D. Crossland as part of the second phase.

John MacDonell, Provincial Minister of Natural Resources, is scheduled to release part of the phase three plan regarding forestry this week. He gave the crowd a sneak peak with two definitive statements: “There’s gonna be a reduction in clear cutting in Nova Scotia… and the other thing is no whole tree harvesting in Nova Scotia.”

Both speakers at the rally and politicians alike had praise for the efforts of Jamie Simpson. At the rally, Simpson called on the NDP government to “Dramatically reduce clear-cutting through regulation, increase support for those who are practicing responsible forestry, and decrease public funding support for clear-cutting.” Other speakers raised issues surrounding biomass burning, fish habitat and recreational areas. The Rally for our Forests ensured that all of these messages were both seen and heard.

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Topics: Environment
478 words
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