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Exclusive: All the Crown's land

Irving powerpoint shows 2050 projection for managing all New Brunswick Crown land as JDI freehold

by Miles Howe

Slide 19 of an archived JDI powerpoint presentation shows that projections have been made for the day when JDI manages all of New Brunswick's Crown Land as a JDI freehold - and that day is achievable by 2050.
Slide 19 of an archived JDI powerpoint presentation shows that projections have been made for the day when JDI manages all of New Brunswick's Crown Land as a JDI freehold - and that day is achievable by 2050.

Fredericton, New Brunswick -- Through a sweep of the New Brunswick provincial archives, the Halifax Media Co-op and the New Brunswick Media Co-op have obtained a powerpoint presentation created by J.D. Irving Ltd (JDI), dated January 24, 2012. The crux of the presentation is that JDI, through its forestry operations, is a major contributor to the provincial economy. But, says the presentation, unless the province establishes Conservation Zones of Crown Land at 23% - and no higher - access to timber, and hence revenue, and hence employment, will suffer dreadfully.

It is unknown who within the provincial government viewed this presentation and in what capacity. It was located in the provincial archives as a written document in the possession of former premier David Alward, so it does seem safe to say that the highest levels of New Brunswick government had seen it.

This manner of direct exposure to JDI efforts to control government forestry policy was certainly not limited to powerpoint presentations. Yesterday, we wrote of an angry letter that James Irving himself penned to then-premier David Alward, in February 2013, when then-minister of Natural Resources Bruce Northrup even mentioned that he had “hope” that Conservation Zones might remain at 28%.

As we know, when the New Brunswick Crown Lands Forestry Strategy was released in March, 2014, Conservation areas in New Brunswick were reduced to 23%, increasing industrial accessibility to pulp fibre amidst outcry from the environmental and scientific communities alike.

But the powerpoint presentation contains more.

Buried within the presentation, included as an attachment to this article, is the mention of a hitherto publicly unknown aspiration of JDI. It would appear, according to 'Slide 19', that JDI has made all the necessary calculations related to a projected scenario where all Crown land in New Brunswick is managed as a JDI freehold.

According to JDI's calculations, nearly all economic indicators, including direct employment, indirect employment, royalties and tax revenues would nearly double – if only the province would allow Crown land to be managed as a JDI freehold. Slide 19 notes that this possibility is achievable by the year 2050.

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