MontrÃ©al - Since December, the Ministry of Natural Resources has initiated a "consultation" process toward the approval of the forestry companies' 25-year and 5-year management plans, as provided in the Forest Act. These plans encompass forestry activities for the next 25 years and contain estimates of the volumes of wood to be logged annually in public forests.Notwithstanding the important nature of these management plans, the Minister responsible has criticized the plans and the process for their approval. In a 1998 internal review document concerning the entire forestry system in Quebec, the Minister of Natural Resources admitted that current company forest management plans were incomplete and that the existing public consultation process is deficient. The lack of publicity regarding the process and absence of accessible popularised versions of the plans were notably pointed out.
In spite of his own condemnation, Minister Brassard has opted to use this very same process to review the next crop of 25-year cutting plans that he has labelled incomplete, thus failing in his responsibility to provide the assurances that Quebec's public forests are being properly managed for the benefit of all.This is why we vigorously denounce this deceptive pretence of consultation, which only demonstrates that the Ministry of Natural Resources holds the interests of multi-national corporations above those of the Quebec population and the Crees. The following points demonstrate why it is clear that the Ministry has no interest in holding meaningful consultations regarding the current round of forestry management plans.
To date, clear-cutting in public forests has never been subjected to any environmental assessment of any kind. Instead, the "consultation" process put in place by the government has as given a "blank check" to the forestry companies and completely denied the interests of the general population and others with respect to the protection and uses of public forests beyond clear-cutting.
Thus, we denounce these "sham" consultations and request a moratorium on the current approval process of the 25 and 5-year plans.