History says decisions wrongTuesday, May 22, 2007
I would like to respond to an article entitled Report thrills forest industry that recently appeared in the daily newspapers May 10 by reminding my fellow citizens of New Brunswick of our history.
In order to bring hope to the industry order of chaos in 1982, we gave industry guaranteed volumes of wood, management of Crown land and a long-term outlook. The question is, did this strategy work?
The history is a sorry one. The bankruptcies of Juniper Lumber Co. Ltd. and St. Anne-Nackawic Pulp Company, to name a couple, left us with millions of dollars in unpaid bills to wood suppliers, NB Power, logging contractors, welding shops and bearing and parts suppliers.
Repap was sold to UPM-Kymmene which promptly tore down one mill and reduced employment and market for wood products for hundreds of woodlot owners and suppliers from around the province. Now, they want to export raw forest products out of the province.
The Smurfit-Stone mill in Bathurst shut down, the Weyerhaeuser mill shut down and others talk about shutting down. The lesson has to be that giving these companies our Crown wood and a long-term outlook has not ensured success.
The woodlot owners of New Brunswick were promised access to market in 1982, which was lost in 1992, supposedly to help the industry not be held back by marketing boards. The result has been an even further decline of industry and has cost woodlot owners and small contractors millions and millions in lost revenue.
The sad history tells me that giving more guarantees to incompetent managers will not bring success or stability. It is time for a complete review of land tenure in New Brunswick. Sell wood to mills that are able to pay, not give it to those who can't. We are now guaranteeing wood to mills that provide the least employment per cubic metre harvested, while the people who provide the most employment per cubic metre, the small sub-licensees, wait for the crumbs to fall from the big boys' tables.
Mr. Premier and people of New Brunswick they fooled us in 1982; shame on them. If they fool us again in 2007, shame on us.
N.B. Federation of Woodlot Owners
Published May 22nd, 2007 Daily Gleaner
Appeared on page C7